Dr Andre Nortje, a physician at Mediclinic Milnerton, gives us the lowdown on the immune system and how to strengthen yours.

What is the immune system? 

The immune system is tasked with fighting any foreign proteins or organisms that are detected in the blood or in the tissue.  It is the basis of our defence against viral and bacterial infection and it is also the mechanism by which transplanted organs are rejected and how autoimmune disease arises. 

How can I strengthen my immune system? 

You'll need to start with the basic principles for a healthy body. These include:

•    a healthy diet that contains all the essential nutrients and vitamins

•    moderation when it comes to alcohol intake

•    stop smoking (better yet, never start)

•    get enough sleep and exercise If these things are in place addition vitamin supplements won’t be needed.

Basic hand hygiene is also advised and care should be taken to prevent if you are ill, not to pass it on to others. 

Get your shots 

It’s advised that all children should be immunised as this greatly reduces their chances of developing diseases during season changes.  As adults, it is recommended that if you have underlying chronic illnesses, you get the annual flu vaccination.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article was correct at the time of publishing. At Mediclinic we endeavour to provide our patients and readers with accurate and reliable information, which is why we continually review and update our content. However, due to the dynamic nature of clinical information and medicine, some information may from time to time become outdated prior to revision.