Viruses 101

Viruses…they are everywhere! They can attack computers, phones, plants, animals, and the human body. For this particular segment, we will stick to focusing on the viruses that can attack the human body; although they are not limited to it.

Viruses are the smallest of all the microbes. They are composed of complexes of nucleic acids and proteins that allow for replication in animal, plant, and bacterial cells. In spite of being uniquely equipped with this ability, viruses are only able to stay alive and multiply inside of other living cells called host cells. In a sense, one could say that viruses pretty much exist to make more viruses. Once a viral particle attaches and penetrates the host cell, it causes changes in the cell directing the host cell’s metabolism to the production of new virus particles.

Some viral infections trigger no noticeable reaction, while some other viruses can cause disease that can sometimes be fatal. Virally-induced cell death, changes in antigenicity, and the response of the host to the presence of a virus leads to the manifestations of viral disease as viruses alter the inside of the host cell and the internal environment of the host itself to create conditions that allow for them to spread. Virally induced-cell death refers to the resulting death of the host cell that leads to the release of viral particles that are ready to enter a new cell and multiply. Antigenicity is defined as how well a substance or something can initiate an immune response and stimulate production of antibodies. Response of the host to the presence of a virus refers to the strength and integrity of the host’s immune system.

Some viruses are more common during certain seasons and with the current uproar of the coronavirus, flu, and other viral infections it is important to tune up and stay on top of your defenses to prevent infection or avoid falling prey to unfavorable reactions from viral infections. Below are 3 tips to boost your defenses and protect yourself:

Hydration– Staying hydrated helps your body to function at its best being that the body is about 70% water. Drinking more fluids can help prevent dehydration, regulate internal body temperature, and boost immune system function.

Sleep– Good quality sleep contributes to proper function of the immune system. Adults generally need 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night and children and teens need more ranging from 9 to 11 hours. Lack of sleep can depress the immune system because certain disease-fighting substances are released or created while we sleep. Our bodies need these hormones, proteins, and chemicals in order to fight off disease and infection.

Vitamins and Nutrients-Good nutrition is essential to a strong immune system. It is a critical determinant of immune responses. Increasing your intake of nutrient dense foods (e.g. fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and other whole foods) can help prevent malnutrition and vitamin and nutrient deficiencies that can lead to impairment and altered immune responses. Supplementing with certain vitamins can play an important role in supporting your immune system. Balanced Healing of Jacksonville has an immune protocol that you may benefit from. Schedule a consult today to learn more!

Elena Alisma, ND

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