Has COVID-19 made you wonder about your immune system? We get you. The pandemic has made us all wish for immunity that's strong enough to sustain a coronavirus attack.
But, how do you really identify if you have a weak immune system? Well, most people with compromised immunity show some common signs and symptoms. Let's find out what they are.
What Is A Weak Immune System?
A weak immune system prevents your body's ability to defend itself against pathogens like viruses, bacteria, parasites, and cancer cells. It makes you easily susceptible to catch infections and diseases.
In Ayurveda, immunity is called 'Vyadhikshamatva'. It is of two types:
- Vyadhi-utpada-pratibandhak-atvam: Resistance to the development of diseases.
- Vyadhi-bala-virodhi-twam: Capacity to prevent the spread of disease in the body and recovering within the first stage of pathogenesis. 
For example, many people test negative in spite of being in close proximity to infected patients with a contagious disease. This can be due to Vyadhi Utpada Pratibandhak Atvam (resistance to the disease itself). Others, when exposed to the contagious infection, may develop mild symptoms or be asymptomatic carriers. This is equated to Vyadhi Bala Virodhi Tvam.
According to ancient Ayurvedic texts, the essence of your food transforms into ‘Apara Oja’, which acts as the immune function mediator. Depleted Oja is linked to weak immune system.
What Causes A Weak Immune System?
Most people weaken their immune system with an erratic and irregular lifestyle. In some rare cases, people are born with a primary immune system disorder.
Here are the general causes of a weak immune system:
- Obesity or overweight
- Abnormally emaciated with drastically reduced blood and muscles
- Consuming unwholesome and processed foods
- Inferior or weak mental faculties (stress, anxiety, and depression)
- Lack of sleep
- Too much intake of sugar
- Lack of exercise
- No adequate exposure to fresh air and sunlight
- Lack of hygiene
- Excessive alcohol
- Excessive exposure to pollution and UltraViolet Radiation (UV rays from sunlight)
- Excessive use of antibiotics (reduces cytokines-messengers of the immune system)
- Unnecessary intake of artificial vitamins
- Chronic medical conditions
- Immune system disorders
According to a government survey, more than 75% of the people who are surviving COVID-19 rely on herbal remedies for primary health care.
What Are The Signs/Symptoms Of A Weak Immune System?
1. Recurring Infections
Most disease-causing pathogens invade a body with a weak immune system. Whenever you have a weakened immune system, your body cannot fight invading germs and viruses efficiently, making you sick regularly.
Repeated fungal infections or mouth thrush indicates an underperforming immune system.
If you develop ear infections, pneumonia, sinusitis more than thrice in a year, you have weak immunity. The same applies if you need more than two courses of antibiotics in a year. In that case, it means that your immune system is showing red flag alerts.
2. Frequent Cold
It is perfectly alright for your body to catch a cold 1-3 times a year. It takes 3-4 days for your immune system to develop antibodies to sweep off the pesky germs. You typically relieve cold within seven days.
But, if you keep catching a cold several times and it doesn't leave you quickly, it is a clear sign of a struggling immune system.
3. Tummy Troubles
Ayurveda describes the gut as a gateway to health, and its low defense power is the root of all diseases. Almost 70% of the immune system is in your digestive tract. The stomach and intestines contain gut bacteria that kills harmful substances and sends them out as a waste product.
If your digestive system is frequently troublesome with diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain, or bloating, it is a signal of your weak immune system.
4. Always Tired
When your immune system puts all its strength to fight against the pathogen, it makes you feel tired. Your body preserves all its energy to win the battle and protect you from diseases. Even though you take rest and sleep well, you will still feel the weakness. Thus, weakness is one of the symptoms of a weak immune system.
5. Prolonged Wound Healing
If you are injured at a particular part of your body, your immune system produces immune cells and delivers them through increased blood flow to that area. It heals your wound as fast as it could.
But a weak immune system fails to do this. Blood takes a long time to clot and stop bleeding. Healing doesn't happen naturally. It is a significant sign of a weak immune system. 
Vedix Tip: Improve immunity by drinking golden milk before going to bed - half teaspoon turmeric mixed with 150 ml of warm milk.
How To Strengthen The Immune System?
Dr. Zeel Gandhi, Chief Ayurvedic Doctor at Vedix, says, "Rasayana Chikitsa - perfecting one’s immune system is the first adhyaya described by Acharya Charak in his treatise of treatment. Immunity is considered first and foremost when one treats on the Ayurvedic line of treatment.
Ayurvedic texts vividly describe simple daily routines (Dinacharya) and seasonal routines (Rutucharya) to align with the forces of nature and preserve health and immunity."
1. Start your day by chewing a neem stick and gargling warm salt water as it kills the virus in your throat.
2. Drink warm lemon water with honey first thing in the morning to detoxify your body. Or drink an immunity booster tea made by boiling tulsi, ginger, and turmeric to flush out toxins.
3. Do yoga and pranayama in a pleasant place with adequate sunlight and fresh air. It reduces stress, improves blood circulation, and clears the respiratory tract. Absorption of vitamin D is the easiest way to strengthen your immune system.
4. Drink plenty of warm water to hydrate mucous membranes and support their action as barriers to all microbes.
5. Eat sprouts and soaked nuts as part of your breakfast. Even if you have a traditional breakfast like upma or dosa, adding an immunity booster like ginger or garlic is mandatory.
6. Eat plant-based foods in your lunch and dinner. Always include freshly boiled veggies, protein foods like mushrooms, and healthy fats like yogurt. That makes a wholesome and nutritious feast!
7. Eat fresh organic fruits for an evening snack. Include 15 ml amla juice as it is rich in vitamin C. It helps clear your digestive tract and boost your immune system.
8. Include herbal supplements to support your immune system, especially during these challenging times.
9. Maintain cleanliness and be hygienic always.
10. Last but not least, have a deep sleep and develop peace of mind.
How Do You Check/Test Your Immune System?
If you find any symptoms of a weak immune system, go for a CBP (complete blood profile) test. It tells you the ranges of white blood cells (WBC) in your blood. If the WBC count is abnormal, your doctor suggests an immunoglobulin test. Immunoglobulins are antibodies produced by your immune system to fight pathogens.
Quantitative immunoglobulins, total immunoglobulins, IgG, IgM, and IgA, are a few tests to check your immune system. If the level of antibodies is lower or higher than required, it can be a severe health issue. 
At What Age Does Your Immune System Become Weak?
The immune system is weaker in your childhood and old age, when compared to your young age. But there is no exact age at which your immune system weakens. Decreasing immunity as you age depends on your lifestyle and how well you care for your body.
If you lead an erratic lifestyle and eat unhealthy food, your immune system weakens by 35-40 years of age! Otherwise, you can defend many unexpected diseases and live healthy even in your old age.
What Happens When Your Immune System Is Weak?
A weak immune system cannot develop an army of soldiers (antibodies) to fight the enemies (pathogens) that invade and attack your body. It makes your body comfortable for the foreign elements to settle in and damage your body constitution. As the self-defensive power reduces, your body is infected by different microbes and is easily prone to diseases.
The Last Word
A weak immune system can be repaired by making lifestyle changes. Natural supplementation of vitamins and nutrients is the best way to rebuild resilience in your immune system.
Adding herbal supplements to your diet and getting exposed to sunlight are the easiest ways to regain immunity and prevent diseases like COVID-19.Know Your Dosha Now
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