Most of us believe that if we survive a disease that our immune systems will protect us in the future from that disease. Is it possible to get the same or similar disease again in the future?
Think of the common cold or seasonal influenza. There are many strains of viruses that are responsible for the common cold and seasonal influenza. If our bodies have developed immunity to a specific strain of the virus, it may or may not protect us when it sees something like that viral molecule in the future.
How many people have become infected twice from the SARS-C0V-2 virus that causes COVID-19? Twenty-four people – out of nearly 43 million-plus cases in the world. (https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/) have been reinfected with COVID-19.
Is our immune system protecting us? Did those two-dozen people have immune system problems? Scientists are still baffled. The current pandemic has not been around long enough to get all the answers needed to make bold statements about immunity and reinfection.
https://www.webmd.com/lung/news/20201023/searching-for-clues-to-covid-immunity is a great source to understand the current dilemma of how our immune systems should protect us from COVID-19. Our immune system is not a single system in our bodies. It is extremely complex. Most of us develop antibodies to fight future invaders of the same family of viruses, bacteria, or fungi.
The adaptive immune response is what saves us from suffering through another series of symptoms that we had the first time we had a viral, bacterial, or fungal infection. Our bodies make white blood cells that start the defense process to fight off the invaders.
There is no need to go into detail in this article about the innate and adaptive responses, the B and T cells, the helper cells and killer cells, antibodies, and more. This link does a great job in very few words.
Assuming our immune systems are working, we should not worry about reinfection from COVID-19 unless the virus undergoes massive mutation. A mutation could make it stronger as easily as it could make it weaker. Our job is to keep our immune systems working properly.
https://www.pennmedicine.org/updates/blogs/health-and-wellness/2020/march/weakened-immune-system categorizes the most common symptoms of a weak immune system – high stress, cannot get rid of a cold, stomach issues that last forever, wounds that take a long time to heal, frequent infections, and never-ending fatigue.
The critical takeaway from those symptoms is the time to heal. If you used to get over a cold in a week and now it takes a month, chances are that your immune system is not working properly. I had surgery on my right wrist a month or so back to remove skin cancer.
The healing process had my skin growing over the sutures in less than two weeks. I mentioned this to my surgeon this week when I had another surgery on the same hand for the same reason and she agreed to shorten my return visit from 14 days to 12 days. People heal at different rates. I am 74 years of age. I do a 72-hour-fast every month to maintain my immune system at optimum levels.
Everyone has heard that we need to eat right, sleep well, exercise often, wash our hands more often than we wish, keep current on our doctors’ visits, do not smoke or overindulge in alcohol, maintain a healthy weight, and manage our stress.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3582124/ One factor not mentioned in the multitude of articles about improving immune function is aging. Aging affects our immune response and function. How do we reverse aging to enjoy a better immune system? Age is probably the major factor why so many people with multiple pre-existing conditions do not survive COVID-19.
Youth forgives a lot of indiscretions. We leave our teenage years and walk into the bullet-proof world of everything working to its best ability in our bodies. We do not gain weight no matter what we eat. Stress is almost a non-issue. The weight of the world is not placed at our doorstep. We thrive in a near make-believe world that incrementally changes over time.
A youthful person wakes up one day in middle-age and wonders what happened. Before he or she can figure it out, their parents are on speed-dial for medical assistance or the local ambulance service. My mother knew the paramedics well the last several years of her life.
I equate aging and health to starting off on the top floor of a parking garage. Assume for a moment that the garage is five stories high. Light, sunshine, vim, vigor, and vitality are available on the top story of the garage. As a person experiences a health set-back (surgery, new medicine, disease, and more) he or she steps down the stairwell to a lower level.
As more and more problems creep up in old age, the ability to get back to the top-level is not possible. Sometimes, a person can live comfortably on the third or fourth level, but not so as they approach the first and second levels where others must take care of them.
We want to live a long healthy life, but we do not want someone changing our diapers for five or ten years. We want a quality of life that we can enjoy. COVID-19 has crashed the parties of many people living on the top three floors of the parking garages. Many were forced to the basements and succumbed to the virus. Others are hiding out hoping not to be recognized when the virus drives by.
Immunity & Aging
https://academic.oup.com/cid/article/33/11/1892/446157 is one of many links to help people improve their immune system as they age. This link focuses on diet and nutrition. My wife had breast cancer a few years ago. She endured surgeries, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy.
Fatigue challenged her every waking minute. Sleeping was common, but it was drug-induced and not quality sleep. Her body was not repairing itself as it should have been doing during quality sleep. Many of you have heard the story about balanced nutrition (from the Wahls Protocol book). Forty-eight hours into her radiation therapy, balanced nutrition wiped our months of chemo fog and eliminated radiation fog.
On her last radiation session, we left and drove to Jacksonville, Florida for me to rent a U-Haul and bring my parents’ estate items back home. She followed me, by herself, for 500 miles each of the two days returning to Houston, Texas. This was 48 hours after her last radiation treatment.
Nutrition is no joke. Balanced nutrition with minimal calories is ideal. Include an alkaline body environment and it does not get much better in the nutritional world. Yet, many of the elderly have some level of malnutrition. Yes, it is possible to be overweight and malnourished. https://www.ncoa.org/healthy-aging/chronic-disease/nutrition-chronic-conditions/why-malnutrition-matters/5-malnutrition-facts-older-adults/
Immunity does degrade with age, but it does not have to trend downward as rapidly or as far as many allow it to. Immunity response time takes longer. Recovery takes longer. Everything takes longer. Vaccines do not work as well when you are over 65 years of age – because our immune systems cannot process the appropriate antiviral response in a timely manner.
I believe that we will develop an immunity that will last a reasonable amount of time to see the gradual reduction in new cases of COVID-19 approach zero. Immunity will be stronger in the younger (under 55 years of age). Immunity can be improved in everyone, even those who are still bullet-proof.
Being bullet-proof to a disease is not the same thing as being a carrier of that disease. Precautions and protections must be followed as if your life depended on it. It does! I added a new regimen to my daily fight of COVID-19 by gargling with an antiseptic mouthwash for 30 seconds every time I leave home and every time I return.
My article of a few days ago (https://wp.me/p4ztmz-Zz) describes what happens when human coronaviruses encounter the kryptonite zone of extended mouth-washing. I expect or hope to expect to, a major run on mouth wash as we saw with toilet paper several months ago.
Our immune response will protect all of us, even those over the age of 75. However, we must protect ourselves more than we have in the past. Protection and avoidance are half the solution. Improving our personal immune systems in the other half.
Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughin – RedOLaughlin.com