Immune System Archive


Boosting your child's immune system

As children go through another school year under the cloud of the COVID-19 pandemic, parents are asking what they can do to keep their children healthy. While no magic solutions can ward off every illness, parents can take steps to help children — and everyone in their household — protect their health by keeping their immune systems robust.

Can I skip vaccination if I had COVID?

Evidence suggests that people who've had COVID-19 may have some natural protection against the virus, but will have a much stronger immune response if they also get the vaccine.

Reduce the health risks from "forever chemicals"

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of thousands of manmade chemicals that are widely used in products such as nonstick pans, stain repellants for furniture and carpets, cosmetics, and industrial products. These compounds are dangerous to human health and may lead to immune system problems and increased risk of certain cancers. Avoiding exposure by filtering water and choosing PFAS-free products can help to reduce those risks.

Do people who have COVID-19 go on to develop other diseases?

Evidence suggests that people who recover from COVID-19 have an increased risk for developing new health problems, including heart attacks, high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, muscle inflammation, blood clots that travel to the lungs, strokes from clots or hemorrhages, or psychosis. This is in addition to permanent damage that can result from having COVID, including damage to the lungs, heart, kidneys, brain, or other organs; and debilitating fatigue, difficulty thinking, and other symptoms that make it hard to function normally at work or at home.

Want probiotics but dislike yogurt? Try these foods

One reason people eat yogurt is because it contains probiotics — beneficial bacteria and yeasts that improve digestion, provide protection from dangerous organisms, and boost the immune system. But not everyone likes the taste or texture of yogurt, so here are some other foods that offer the same benefits.

COVID-19 and cardiovascular concerns: An evolving story

Physicians’ understanding of how a COVID-19 infection affects the heart is still evolving. More definitive answers require long-term, randomized clinical trials that control for different factors (including varied medical histories and medication use) to study how COVID-19—and possible therapies—affect people who have or are at risk for heart disease. Like other infectious organisms, SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) can increase the risk of blood clots and may damage the heart, but the danger is less common than initial reports suggested.

Adjusting gut bacteria may improve response to cancer treatment

Gut bacteria may play a role in response to cancer treatments that target the immune system.

5 inflammation-fighting food swaps

Inflammation can be a beneficial sign that the body's immune system is fighting an infection, but it can also linger over time, damaging the body. There is evidence that eating a diet heavy in foods that promote inflammation can increase the risk for certain health problems, and also that a healthy diet can reduce inflammation.

Are inflammatory bowel disease and irritable bowel syndrome the same?

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are different, though they can have similar symptoms. IBS symptoms seem to arise from hypersensitive nerves and abnormal muscle contractions in the digestive tract, while IBD results from a problem with the immune system causing inflammation.

Crucial ways you can support a healthy immune system

There’s no evidence that maintaining a healthy lifestyle will suddenly boost the immune system. However, it’s clear that healthy lifestyle habits contribute to overall health, supporting the body’s ability to fight infections instead of creating new problems. Healthy habits that help maintain a robust immune system include getting seven to nine hours of sleep per night, exercising, reducing stress, eating a healthy diet, not smoking, drinking alcohol only in moderation, maintaining a healthy weight, and getting underlying conditions under control.

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