Each of us has innate immunity and acquired. The congenital attacks everything at once, especially without understanding. It is thanks to him that we experience all those symptoms of acute respiratory infections that make us feel so unhappy. Acquired (specific) immunity is much more complicated.
It focuses on specific bacteria and viruses that the body has already encountered, and fights them more effectively than the congenital one. If contact occurs for the first time, then the cells of the immune system “sharpen” under a new enemy and at the next meeting they respond to it faster and more efficiently. How this all functions exactly is unknown.
If you have any complaints about your immune system, go to a therapist who will either independently develop an action plan or send you to an immunologist. Sometimes the problem is solved by the implementation of obvious recommendations on lifestyle changes. There is good reason to believe that physical activity, normal sleep, and a balanced diet are the few things that “support” the immune system and that we can control.
But you are not able to determine on your own, you only need to change your lifestyle or undergo serious treatment. Therefore – again – it makes sense to go to the doctor if you do not like the frequency of your diseases.
It is hardly worthwhile to stimulate innate immunity with a common ARI, as the symptoms of the disease will intensify as a result. How to strengthen acquired immunity, if not through vaccination, no one knows. At least because a huge number of various cells are involved in its work, and stimulation of one species may in some way affect the behavior of the entire immune system.
The only group of such over-the-counter immunostimulants in which there are drugs that have proven their effectiveness and safety are bacterial lysates (bacterial fragments that activate the immune system). But it must be remembered that the vast majority of acute respiratory infections are viral infections, that is, baclisates can not help here, although they are able to reduce the risk of bacterial complications.
What to do if you often sleep
For an adult, it is normal to have acute respiratory infections 2-3 times a year. If this happens to you more often, then it is quite possible that there is no particular problem here. But if this state of affairs gives you a lot of inconvenience, if it seems to you that something is wrong, consult a therapist who will either deal with your problem himself or send him to an immunologist. Why not immediately to a specialist?
The problem will not necessarily be in the deficiencies of the immune system as a whole. For example, the case may be in local immunity, which largely depends on lifestyle. This happens with smokers: due to damage to the mucous membranes of the respiratory tract, it is easier for viruses to penetrate into the cells, and accordingly, people get ARI more often. Or, due to reflux (acid reflux into the esophagus from the stomach), the mucous membrane is also damaged, and infections occur more often in the throat.
But if the matter is immunity and it needs to be “raised”, how to act? “To“ raise it, ”you must first see where it“ lies, ”says immunologist Ilya Korsunsky. Immunodeficiencies, that is, significant disorders of the immune system, can be congenital (primary, PID), or can be acquired (secondary). There are about 250 types of congenital disorders that cause immunodeficiency. Usually they appear in childhood, but sometimes problems can occur at 40 years. To suspect it is primary immunodeficiency, you need to find at least two of its signs. These genetic diseases are treated in completely different ways: from simple observation to bone marrow transplantation.
Acquired immunodeficiencies can occur after severe blood loss, with a severe burn, prolonged use of corticosteroids, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, prolonged infection with parasites, HIV infection, if you do not take special drugs, etc. “Talk that a person is sick because slept, tired and his immunity fell, this is household kitchen talk. Only a special analysis with very stringent parameters can tell about the state of immunity, ”writes Alexander Myasnikov, head physician of the Moscow City Clinical Hospital No. 71, in his book“ On the Most Important ”.
“If an immunological examination shows the norm, and a person is reasonably dissatisfied with his condition, then we need to look further for a cause that most often lies not in immunology,” Ilya Korsunsky explains.
Do I need immunostimulants
But usually because of frequent acute respiratory infections, no one goes to the doctor, everything is attributed to “weak immunity”, and a person buys an OTC immunostimulant. If you believe the advertising, these drugs perform a series of actions with the immune system, thanks to which the body quickly deals with any infection. “OTC immunomodulators are very non-individual, they promise to cure everyone of everything,” says Ilya Korsunsky. – Therefore, they are most often pointless. In addition, they are not well understood, and there is a theoretical risk that they will unpredictably work and, for example, provoke an autoimmune disease (a disease in which the immune system attacks its own body. – Ed.).
Doctors who prescribe drugs without proven efficacy and safety by international standards, and the patients who use these drugs are very brave people. And often these appointments do everything in a row. ENTs, for example, are the most common, but immunologists are the least likely. Although I’m not removing adenoids: I’m an immunologist, and everyone still has to do their own thing. ”
In the West, there are no over-the-counter immunostimulants. But there are biologically active additives that are not related to medicines and doctors do not prescribe them. It is there that usually is located that we are presented as immunostimulating drugs. And even if a large western pharmaceutical company sells such a drug in Russia, it often happens that there is no such medicine in her country. The fact is that we have rather loyal legislation in terms of testing the drug for effectiveness, and of course, everyone uses this.
Immunostimulants are divided into several groups:
1. Bacterial lysates
Baklizaty are drugs based on fragments of bacteria. A rare case among immunomodulators: their mechanism of action is understandable, and the effectiveness of some has even been proven in qualitative studies. They activate specific immunity, provoking a protective reaction to the invasion of supposedly bacteria, but in fact only their parts. That is, such funds are used to prevent precisely bacterial infections.
2. Interferons (sales leaders: Cycloferon, Viferon, Grippferon, etc.)
A substance called “interferon” is produced by cells in response to the invasion of something foreign in the body. This component of innate immunity prevents the reproduction of viruses. It will be unknown whether there will be any benefit from introducing additional interferon into the body in the form in which over-the-counter drugs exist. The pediatrician Yevgeny Komarovsky in his book “ARI: A Guide for Sane Parents” writes: “The most relevant direction of the therapeutic use of these drugs” artificial interferons “is the treatment of oncological, very serious, life-threatening viral infections, the causative agents of which are weak inducers (activators. – approx.) interferon – viral hepatitis, herpetic and HIV infection. Most products are for injection use, they have many side effects and a significant (sometimes huge) price. ” As for interferons used locally (for example, in the form of drops), in accordance with international standards, their effectiveness and safety has not yet been proven.
3. Interferon inducers (sales leaders: Kagocel, Amiksin, Arbidol)
Interferon inducers are all that activate non-specific immunity. For example, viruses are inducers of interferons. But why use such drugs separately? “The vast majority of ARVI pathogens are strong interferon inducers, which means that there is no need for additional stimulation of interferon formation,” writes Yevgeny Komarovsky in the book “Medicines. Handbook of Sane Parents. ” Moreover, these drugs are poorly researched, and are not used abroad for the prevention or treatment of acute respiratory infections.
Immunoglobulins are essentially antibodies (proteins that bind to viruses or bacteria that invade the body) that are secreted from donated plasma. “Such drugs are transfused to a person with a proven lack of their own immunoglobulins,” says Ilya Korsunsky. – It’s like with insulin for diabetes. A person even gets a disability if this condition is not transitory, but permanent. ”
5. Homeopathic medicines (Anaferon, etc.)
There is especially nothing to say about homeopathic medicines, because due to the strong dilution in them there is not a single molecule of the active substance, they have nothing to do with science, and if you want to buy a placebo for hundreds of rubles, this is your choice.
Immunostimulants of animal origin (for example, Timalin, Timogen), plant (Echinacea extract) do not have a good evidence base and, needless to say, medicines are not used in Western countries. The same applies to immunostimulants like Ingavirin, Polyoxidonium, and many others.
What else can be done to not get sick
You can be tempered. But it’s absolutely not necessarily about swimming in the ice hole. It is just necessary to train the vessels so that they do not narrow sharply when the temperature drops and bring all the necessary cells to fight viruses and bacteria. That is, it cannot be said that hardening strengthens the immune system, but it definitely will allow you to get sick less often. A contrast shower, wrap yourself less and ventilate the room more often – your body will eventually be satisfied. “But if hardening begins without the daily routine and proper nutrition, there will be no effect,” says Ilya Korsunsky.
You can also train your immunity with vaccinations. Unfortunately, there are no vaccines from simple SARS, but there is a flu. True, you need to be vaccinated every year, since the virus mutates. There are also vaccines to protect against other infections.
Someone may not like these tips: in the end, taking a pill and not getting sick is a much more pleasant scenario. But Ilya Korsunsky warns: “If you eat haphazardly, do not play sports and sleep 4 hours a day, then frequent acute respiratory infections are a payment for such a way of life, you won’t change anything with a pill.”