The COVID-19 pandemic has made everyone painfully aware of how important it is to have a strong immune function, especially if you’re over 50.
It has also made Costhetics painfully aware of a new glut of products on the Internet, falsely offering to boost immunity to the virus. We wrote this article to help you steer clear of them, whatever your age might be.
Healthy Immune Systems: Innate & Adaptive
The complex function of keeping your body healthy is handled, in part, by a series of immune systems broken down into these two categories:
- Innate – A system of non-specific proteins and cells that are automatically released when you experience trauma, illness, or a simple injury such as a scraped elbow.
- Adaptive – The cells in this part of your immune system spring into action when you get a cold or flu. Their job is to identify the invading illness. After they do, they help your body produce unique immune cells to kill the new infection.
In most instances, once your body has developed a disease-specific immune response, you are protected from getting that disease again. This does not appear to be true with COVID-19, however, and researchers are particularly concerned about the impact on individuals over 50.
COVID-19, Oldies, & the “Twilight” of Immunity
Like it or not, oldies cannot significantly boost their immunity. In a process known as immunosenescence, the body’s immune response capability slowly degrades. It’s the reason older people are more likely to contract infectious diseases, in general, and to die from them. Harvard researchers found that increased risk “correlates with a decrease in T cells, possibly from the thymus atrophying with age and producing fewer T cells to fight off infection.”
Perhaps most distressing are suggestions that older people who have survived the virus may not have a strong enough immune system to protect them in the event of re-exposure. “Older (people’s immune systems) are not as good at reacting to microorganisms they haven’t encountered before,” writes immunobiologist Janko Nikolich-Zugich in his study The Twilight of Immunity. He notes that a older person’s body has less virus-fighting chemicals, in general, at its disposal, likening it to “fewer soldiers dealing with attackers (they’ve) never experienced before.”
Seniors Search: Looking for Help in All the Wrong Places
Every day, millions of people over the age of 50 go online searching for the latest news and information on ways to protect themselves against COVID-19. Sadly, many of them will run afoul of adverts promising to boost your immune system so you’re safe from the coronavirus. They (and you) should be aware that:
- “No drugs have been approved to treat this strain of the coronavirus”
- “Society is, at best, 12–18 months away from finding out the effectiveness of any kind of vaccine or antiviral medication, as several drugmakers like Gilead, Regeneron and Takeda run their drugs through clinical trials.” (Source: Axios)
Major retailers and online marketplaces are working hard to clamp down on scams. They are aggressively shutting down listings for products that claim to provide COVID-19 protection. Facebook has banned all ads claiming to cure or prevent the virus, including those for:
- Essential oils
- Colloidal silver
- Skin patches
- Air purifiers
In the U.S., the FDA has set up a website where consumers can fill out a complaint form to report bogus websites.
Costhetics No-Cost, 4-Step Way to Improve Immunity
The back and forth on the subject of boosting your immune system with non-traditional products is reaching a fever pitch. People are terrified and desperate to improve their body’s natural defence mechanisms against COVID-19. Desperation can lead to very, very bad decisions.
Take heart! There are advocates and detractors on both sides of almost all the recommendations, but these four steps get two thumbs-up from traditional and alternative health advocates alike:
- Get enough sleep
- Exercise regularly
- Eat a balanced diet
- Control stress
This likely isn’t the quick fix answer you were hoping for, and we’re sorry for that. Not every problem has a quick fix. On the other hand, perhaps one of the silver linings of the dark COVID-19 cloud will be a renewed interest in going back to basics for health and beauty. For decades now, healthcare professionals of every stripe have been urging us to protect our good health using the steps above. Now is a good time to take that advice to heart.
We invite you to join Costhetics in our good-sense fight against COVID-19, so we can all stay healthy and beautiful.