Has the isolation of lock-downs impacted our immune systems
Just as I was getting back on track with my health and fitness. I got struck down with this seasons flu. I had heard that this seasons flu was a particularly nasty one.
I can confirm the flu this season is not fun. While I'm through the worst of it, it has taken a good fortnight to get through it. As I have been in recovery I kept having the same thought.
Has the isolation from the last couple of years due to the lock-downs, weakened my immunity against the flu?
This thought came about as the last time I had the flu was when I was 25, I just turned 39. I have only ever suffered the flu twice in my life, and both times, I was massively run down, and under a lot of stress.
Neither of which is the case this time around. Along with the figures so far from the flu this season, I have to wonder has the isolation of the last couple of years weakened our immune system?
Reading some of the medical articles that have come out in the last 6-12 months, it looks like the answer is yes, and it is due to a few different factors.
Due to the lengthy lock-down many of us now have a Vitamin D deficiency, due to the fact we had such limited time outdoors, the number one source of Vitamin D is direct exposure to the sun.
Vitamin D is vital for the health and strength of our bones, teeth and immune cells. Vitamin D enables the macrophages in our lungs, which is important in the defense against respiratory infections. It also increases the activity for other immune cells, meaning the less exposure to the sun we get the greater the risk to respiratory infections and the flu.
There is also a link between the reduced amount of exercise and the immune system, and this is through that working out helps to reduce our stress levels, and that the reduction of stress helps our immune system.
In turn by staying indoors increased the amount of screen time, increasing our exposure to blue light which keeps the brain active and in turn effects our sleep patterns, making it more difficult for us to fall asleep, increasing the stress response in the body.
I know for myself due to blood tests results from earlier this year, my Vitamin D levels are borderline, which is never the case for me, I've always maintained very healthy levels of Vitamin D, so the impact of the less time spent outdoors, has impacted me, which makes me wonder, how many other people this season are also being impacted for the same reason?
All I can suggest is take that Vitamin D supplement, load up on the food sources that have a Vitamin D count, and get that outdoor time and exposure to the sun to help better protect us all from this seasons respiratory infections.