With the Coronavirus outbreak, I thought it would be beneficial to discuss how stress impacts the immune system.
The immune system’s job is to keep the body safe and its very flexible but can be compromised by age and illness.
There are two types of immunity:
Specific immunity is a slower response than natural immunity as it may take several days. This is about recognition of a particular antigen (e.g. virus) and the production of a cell that specifically recognises this antigen. This may come from having seen that antigen before via a previous illness or via vaccination.
Natural immunity is an all-purpose reaction that may have a short time frame (minutes to hours). You will have experienced natural immunity when you have inflammation or a fever or had a wound that has healed. As part of natural immunity, we produce killer cells that respond to viruses etc.
As coronavirus is a new virus and there is currently no vaccination, we are reliant on natural immunity to protect us.