Be Immune to Getting Sick This Season | STACK

Be Immune to Getting Sick This Season

October 1, 2012 | Featured in the Fall 2012 Issue

Your immune system is housed in various areas of your body, like police precincts in a big city. Invaders (viruses, bacteria) can break through all of the typical entryways (mouth, nose, genitals, skin), but your security system only has a few locations—the thymus, bone marrow, spleen and lymphatic system and nodes.

When the white blood cells of your immune system spot a foreign invader, a type of white blood cell called a macrophage finds the germ, engulfs it, and digests it, sort of the way a security guard would stop and hold an intruder.

Your body has to determine whether the threat is real or not, and to do so, the macrophage calls for backup. Other immune system cells respond by traveling through the bloodstream to the invaded area. While they are en route, the white blood cell records and relays information about the invader. When the backup immune cells arrive on scene, they identify and obliterate the harmful invader, or let the benign one pass through security.

Now that you understand how the body works, learn these four ways to keep yourself from getting sick:

Practice Good Hygiene

Wash your hands or use antibacterial gel. Often. The most common way germs are spread is through contact with your hands that then touch your mouth or nose. Washing away the germs regularly helps minimize the damage (see below).

Get Plenty of Flavonoids

Flavonoids are great immune system strengtheners. Orange juice, tomato juice and citrus fruits are particularly good sources.

Don’t Use Antibiotics If You Have a Virus

Antibiotics can actually have a negative effect on your body if you have a virus. If your parents are pushing for a prescription from your doc, educate them about why antibiotics won’t work.

Get Your Flu Shot

Vaccinations keep you healthier. They keep away the bad bugs that can cause inflammation and diminish your athletic performance. Plus, not getting the flu is a way to help your team stay healthier, too.

Topics: YOU DOCS
Dr. Mike Roizen and Dr. Mehmet Oz
- Doctors Mike Roizen and Mehmet Oz, authors of four New York Times #1 bestsellers on health, entertain and educate athletes on choices that can make...
Dr. Mike Roizen and Dr. Mehmet Oz
- Doctors Mike Roizen and Mehmet Oz, authors of four New York Times #1 bestsellers on health, entertain and educate athletes on choices that can make...
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

Best Protein Choices

The Low-Stress Diet Game Plan

Watermelon: The Athlete's Superfruit

YOU Docs: Q&A on Tanning Beds

YOU Docs: Q&A on STIs

The Real Reason Your Game is Off

The Athlete

YOU Docs: Q&A on Facial Hygiene

Make Stress Work for You

YOU Docs: Tobacco and Athletic Performance

How Eggs Can Change Your Genes

What Makes Food Unhealthy?

YOU Docs: Q&A on What Can I Do to Get Better Sleep?

YOU Docs: Building Better Muscle

YOU Docs: Q&A on Testing for STIs

The Dangers of Fad Diets

DNA and the Future of Us

YOU Docs: Q&A on Acne Solutions

YOU Docs: Q&A on Energy Drinks

YOU Docs: Q&A on Addiction Detox

Eat Well to Sleep Well

Brain Food

2 Energy Drink Rules Athletes Must Follow

How Eating Right Can Help You Quit Tobacco

YOU Docs: Q&A on Healthy vs. Unhealthy Foods

Ask the YOU Docs: How Can I Whiten My Teeth?

Health Benefits of Cherries

YOU Docs: Q&A on Sex and Athletic Performance

YOU Docs: Boost and Maintain Energy

YOU Docs: Q&A on Preventing Blemishes

YOU Docs: Q&A on Smoking and Losing Weight

YOU Docs: Q&A on "Healthy" Addictions

YOU Docs: Q&A on Creatine

YOU Docs: Q&A on Overcoming a Tobacco Addiction

Build Muscle With Eggs

The Athlete's Trouble Spots: Knees and Shoulders

The Easy Way to Get More Energy

Beat the Burn

YOU Docs: Q&A on Addictions That Make You Look Old

YOU Docs: Q&A on Preventing Acne Scars

YOU Docs: How Sleep Improves Performance