In part 1, I gave an overview of the immune system works. In this post, I want to explore the impact of short-term stress on the immune system.
The immune system is actually very flexible and naturally responds to challenges in your life which means stress modifies our immune system.
When we consider the impact of stress on the immune system, we need to consider the duration and course of the stress i.e. how long it will be present and whether or its continuous or not.
1. Acute Stressors – last only minutes e.g. public speak – can cause adaptive up regulation of natural immunity and down regulation of specific immunity. This means you have an increased ability to fight infection but reduced specific response.
2. Brief Naturalistic Stressors – for example taking exams, present a short-term challenge – this means you specific immunity is preserved but less ability to fight infections.
In summary in some circumstances, acute short-term stress is part of everyday life, and under some circumstances it can enhance your immunity.