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ill again! any tips for strengthening the immune system?

(10 Posts)
lurkingfromhome Tue 02-Apr-13 10:17:14

So ... in the middle of February I got a cold that lasted on and off for about three weeks. It was one of the really awful colds that absolutely flattened me for a few days (actually could not get out of bed at all for two of them) then dragged on and on.

This Saturday I woke up feeling a bit hoarse and with an achey throat. The headache started a few hours later and by the evening I was in bed with a flu-y thing that has wiped me out all weekend - pounding head, every bone in my body screaming for mercy, fever, blah blah. Feel better today and am working, but really only because I'm working at home and can manage that - I'd be struggling to leave the house and make it into an office.

My immune system is clearly shot and because I run my own business from home, the big fear is not being able to work and thus missing deadlines. It was horrible that the lovely long Easter weekend was ruined, but still a bit of a relief as I didn't have to miss a working day. Top tips, anyone, for building up my immunity, as I just don't want to be struck down again. I eat a really healthy diet, plenty of fruit & veg, but what else can I do?

PenelopePipPop Tue 02-Apr-13 11:36:47

Do you have small kids? Have them adopted. They are terrible disease vectors, like rats, so long as you keep them in the house you'll keep getting ill.

More seriously, I've investigated the same issue as you after the winter from hell and consulted all my GP, Dad who is a GP, sister who is a nurse consultant specialising in HIV and their conclusion is that errr there is not much you can do. If you eat fresh food, don't smoke, don't drink loads, get some sleep and take some exercise you are prob doing as much as you can.

Even my mad as cheese husband who swims outside in all weathers and has exhaustively researched all the health benefits of exposure to cold weather (yes apparently swimming in freezing cold water is meant to boost your immune system but I think I might prefer bronchitis) has been forced to admit the research evidence doesn't really support that claim.

Obviously you can pop to your local health food shop and stock up on teas and tablets and yoghurts which promise to boost immunity and if they make you feel better no harm done. But there really isn't any evidence to support any of this stuff.

It has been a pig of a winter. Next one may not be so bad. And your children's immune systems will mature and they'll stop bringing so many viruses home with them.

Dilidali Tue 02-Apr-13 11:45:55

I'm in the same boat! I think I just need rest, no stress.
Going back to evening primrose oil capsules, it's all in my head methinks.
I eat healthily, could cut a bit on sugars though, I swim, the house is clean-ish,my job is physical, I have no idea what else to do.
I have been taking vit D 3 throughout the winter, makes a difference, but the whole month of march is a write off, been so incredibly sick!
Shall we google? Lol x

lurkingfromhome Tue 02-Apr-13 12:43:20

Don't even have any kids I can put the blame on, alas! Oh and yes, forgot to say that I don't smoke, barely drink and actually thought working from home would protect me from most of the winter bugs ... so glad to hear I am not the only sufferer grin.

StitchAteMySleep Tue 02-Apr-13 12:48:04

You are not alone, just got over the flu a week ago and now have a stinking cold.

You could try 1000mg vitamin C, Echinacea, olive leaf or my special brew(which clears the sinuses if nothing else):

Hot water, juice half lemon, cube ginger sliced, garlic clove squashed, 3 cloves, piece of cinnamon stick, slice red chilli and honey.

jodee Tue 02-Apr-13 12:57:23

I see you have a healthy diet, fruit and veg etc, but you can never have enough onions (and leeks/shallots)! They boost the good bacteria. Google Bifidobacteria and oligosaccarides, dietary fibre in certain foods, e.g onions and garlic, chicory, artichokes, asparagus.

bishboschone Tue 02-Apr-13 13:01:19

I think alot of it is luck . I hardly ever get anything and have small children . My house is clean but not overly clean and I try to get lots of fresh air . I don't eat particularly well but am almost my optimum weight. My sister is 5-6 stone overweight and is always ill. I do believe there is a link with weight as your body is working harder all the time . Only IMO though.

jodee Tue 02-Apr-13 13:52:25

Somehow this winter I've Avoided the colds that dh and ds have had, I am always a bit sniffly tho but I think I'm oversensitive to dust and cat hair. I try and eat healthily, but not overly so (just sat here scoffing half an Easter egg)!

PenelopePipPop Tue 02-Apr-13 14:02:01

You aren't alone. Apparently young healthy people tend to suffer more when our immune systems are activated because we are young and healthy so they can go into hyperdrive and really make us suffer! So the other thing to look forward to is just getting older and frailer and tottering towards the grave...

Your immune system isn't really shot. You get exposed to a bug, you fight it off, it just takes a while. Possibly resting earlier would enable your body to fight it off faster so maybe you need to look at how you manage your workload. But even that assumption which is everywhere in the standard medical advice and seems intuitively obvious doesn't hold up to close scrutiny when you look at the medical evidence - college students told to rest when they got a cold didn't recover faster than those told to carry on attending classes in one study I looked at, though at least they didn't spread their infection.

Sorry, I really feel for you. I had 6 bouts of bronchitis this winter and have a toddler and a full time job and epilepsy so it has been bloody horrible.

All the things which can provide symptomatic relief and make you feel more comfortable like drinking herbal teas, keeping warm and rested and eating plenty of fresh wholesome food are still sensible, and obviously maintaining your healthy lifestyle must be good. But I honestly cannot find any magic bullet that any medical evidence suggests will consistently improve your resistance to disease, or promote your bodies ability to recover from disease. If such a thing existed we'd all be mainlining it. But you'll meet lots of snake oil merchants if you go looking for these things.

fuzzpig Tue 02-Apr-13 14:08:16

I wish I knew!

I've always had a rubbish immune system and found it didn't stand up to much when I started work in a public place and my eldest started school! I now have chronic fatigue syndrome (aka ME) and am even more concerned because any little sniffle results in a relapse.

My youngest seems to have inherited my crappy immune system too, poor bunny sad

I take a multivitamin (mainly because I wanted to boost my iron levels a bit - that did work according to repeat blood tests!) but I'm reluctant to spend money on more supplements when I am not convinced they'll work.

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