Okay. Enough is enough. I just endured my third flu-like, cough, laryngitis, headcold-like, feeling miserable encounter since May and I have had it! I can’t say I never get sick, but not this much in so little time. Each event was a little different from the other, but none the less it was enough to stop me in my tracks a bit.

Ladies, you know what I am talking about when I say even when you do get sick, the ability to really lay down, take care of yourself and stay off your feet until the illness passes is a proverbial lie. However, when my husband has the sniffles, he does just that and no questions asked.

The “call of duty” is not just a video game, it is a mom’s motto. So even when we feel lousy, we are still pushing ourselves to the limits to keep the house in order and burn the iniquitous candle at both ends.

Maybe we fear if we take a break, our kids won’t be able to take care of themselves or dinner won’t get made or papers won’t get signed. But the truth is our families can do a lot more than we think. And when we start to go under the weather, we might just do more harm than good pushing ourselves to deplete our own immune systems.

Granted I do work with kids, so often I tend to get everything down the pike a little more easily. But my guess is I have not been boosting my immune system as best I could lately. And with cold and flu season not even upon us yet, I better get cracking.

When your body encounters a germ, its first line of defense is your immune system. Your immune system, which is a body system designed to protect us from illness and disease, can be compromised by a variety of different things: lack of exercise, poor nutrition, stress, smoking and dehydration (lack of water). And while you may be doing the right things with diet and exercise, stress can really deplete your immune system.

Depression, anxiety and panic are harmful to the body in many ways. Secondary symptoms such as fatigue, difficulties with memory and concentration, aches and pains, and problems with sleep are common in people with mood disorders. Mood disorders also harm the immune system. If you are experiencing any of these contact your doctor.

As we know, a regular exercise regimen and a healthy diet can help to decrease stress. The mind and body act as one unit and thus we must approach them together. To maintain the strongest immune system possible, you must have a nutritious diet, get regular exercise and reduce stress in your life. You must attend to all three of these areas to achieve your optimum health.

In the meantime, if you are feeling run down, listen to your body and rest. This is not a bad four-letter word and maybe just the right one you need to hear.

Contributor Annie Linton, M.Ed, is a Pediatric Clinical Exercise Physiologist at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, owner and program director for GrowingStronger, www.growingstronger.org. E-mail: growingstronger@comcast.net. She resides in Springfield.

comments powered by Disqus