Your Immune System is Not Political
So, why are we treating a pandemic in a partisan way?
For the last 18 months we’ve all been glued to some form of media to keep us in the know about COVID-19. It’s basic survival instinct but if you are reading this, you’re probably tired of all of the bullshit and just want an idea of what is actual information and what is the right decision to make for you and your family.
While I am not a doctor and can’t subscribe anything to you, what I will do is try to provide the the actual science behind what you see in the news. A lot of this you are probably already tuning out already anyways, but for your own piece of mind it may be of some benefit to have a better idea of how to separate information from opinion.
What I will not do is encourage tinfoil hatted conspiracy theory talk, this adds no value to any side of the conversation and doesn’t allow for rational discussion.
Rather than going through a biology or epidemiology course, let’s see if we can’t keep the understanding on the simple and make it so that you have a better appreciation of how to parse bullshit from fact.
When you used to be able to travel, business and vacations, you may have taken some form of public transport system, be it a cruise, bus, train, airplane or maybe just carpooled for the most epic adventure. You have the time of your life over the course of a weekend or week away from your everyday routine and you get to ‘live’ a little. In this, have you ever noticed how you are sick a couple days after you’ve arrived home but typically, unless self-induced/inflicted injury has occurred, this doesn’t seem to be as prevalent when you’re on your vacay?
Nobody typically wonders why they never got sick or been sick on a trip to Cabo San Lucas, but they are pretty quick to blame the flight home for their illness - generality, but you get the point.
When you come into contact with a virus, there is a period of time before your immune system has a chance to engage and before you are symptomatic. For the common ones like the flu or cold, it takes between 1-3 days before you really start to notice - the incubation period.
So, the answer to why you have predominantly been sick when you get home is because the people you flew home with were more sick than the people you flew to Cabo with, right?
It really doesn’t make that much sense when you put it like this, does it?
People that flew from [insert your home town] to Cabo are most likely the same people you flew home with. You might have even hung out with them while at the same resort. So why are you sick when you get home if it only takes 24 hours for the symptoms of a viral infection to appear and you’ve been there for a week?
It’s like this…
While you are living your everyday life, you maintain some quality of foods probably some exercise and a regular sleep pattern. This is the foundation of your immune system and no doctor on the planet will disagree. Regular and consistent: Diet + Exercise + Sleep = Healthy Immune System.
When you leave for a vacation, all of these are in perfect check. Maybe not the most ideal, but to your existence they are homeostatic - your immune system comfort zone. At this point, your immune system is capable of handling the little viruses that you are exposed to on your flight. (Don’t try to think about how many variants of the [any]virus are on a plane with you, or you will never fly again).
While you are on vacation, you have disrupted everything that keeps your immunity in check under the basic premise of maximizing your holiday. You eat foods that are foreign to you but taste soooo good, you slack off on a regular exercise routine, you are not sleeping in your own bed and you are not maintaining the same healthy sleep patterns you have at home. You’ve been stressing your body since you woke up and packed your suitcase, you’ve dealt with stress parking at the airport, finding your gate, checking your bag…there really is a massive amount of stress that we put our bodies through to “Take a break”.
Your immune system has suffered through 7 days of hell - for it, not so much for you - and you are more susceptible to anything that you are now exposed to. Alcohol, a cigar while golfing, 2 packs of crush cigs because you miss the menthol…sugary crap, fried foods…but you had a great time and that’s the point of it, right?
Bring on COVID.
As much as you may have read about COVID, appreciate that we still haven’t been able to cure the common cold, meaning we just don’t know enough about it and it has existed for, well…forever, but studies only isolated them about 60 years ago. In 60 years, we’ve not been able to sort out a dry hack, a runny nose and a fever. We can treat the symptoms, but we are not addressing the virus.
So, when you are exposed to a “New and Improved” Virus, you have no defense mechanisms in place to deal with them, with the possible exception of a healthy immune system. Notice how some people in your household react differently to the same bug you caught? You may even still take the same serum (OTC cough medicine), but you are treating different symptoms.
Part of this is due to simple exposure itself, some is due to your natural immunity being fairly well off. You may be more/less active. You may be more/less exposed to new bugs; may hold a different diet/sleep pattern than others in your immediate surroundings and some of this is actually due to the fact that some people just suffer more than others, from everything!
You see, a healthy immune system isn’t just dependent on a regular and patterned routine and regular exposure to really tiny bugs; a large part of it is due to a more or less regular exposure to inflammation and how it taxes your immune system and how effective you are at fueling this system - those who tend to suffer from everything.
Think of it like riding a bicycle, wind flowing through your hair, waving at the neighbors as you pass by. You are having a glorious time.
Now, introduce inflammation, (inflammation in this scenario is like adding extra weight to your journey). Maybe this is a back pack, add in a sidecar, add in a child carrier, drop the weight of a child into that, before you come to an uphill incline. Imagine before this point, you were keeping up to traffic - minimizing your exposure to danger - and then, the weight from your comorbidity starts to set in, and set in, and set in again and you just haven’t got the energy to make it up the hill.
BLAM. You get run over by traffic!
From this Government Healthcare Provider Site, it’s easy to recognize that those ‘With 3 or more conditions’ are the greatly represented in the “Deceased” group, where ‘No Comorbidity’ is in the “Non-Severe” group. Important to note, the non-severe group are the asymptomatic who probably didn’t even know they had COVID, while those in the “Deceased” group suffered with 3 or more conditions/comorbidities.
The people that are most likely going to die from exposure to COVID are not coincidentally the people that are most like to die from anything; they are the same.
It’s not a partisan issue, it’s the same thing we’ve been evolving with for thousands of years. It doesn’t matter whether you believe in lockdowns or wearing masks, 24/7, in your car while driving alone and keeping yourself blister wrapped in an organic/biodegradable HAZMAT suit. If your health wasn’t that well before you came into contact with COVID, you’re not going to have a good time.
What if you are in good health?
You were in good health before you took the plane to Cabo and look how that turned out. Do you really want to tax your immune system more in the middle of a global pandemic?
[To be continued]