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How To Build Back Immune Health After Omicron

How To Build Back Immune Health After Omicron

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a strong hold on the globe for the past two years. During that time, the novel coronavirus has mutated several times. Each of these different variants has come with its own brand of the same infection. In some cases, as with the latest Omicron variant, the changes the virus has undergone have made it highly transmissible. This means that the virus, which was already highly contagious, has mutated to become more easily passed from person to person.

Because of this high transmissibility, more and more people have found themselves unable to avoid the clutches of COVID, and many of the population that avoided every other variant have since come down with Omicron. People who have experienced the Omicron variant of COVID-19 may now be wondering how it has affected their immune system and what they can do to keep themselves protected in the future.

So, how exactly does the immune system recover from COVID? And is there a way to strengthen your immune system after being infected with the Omicron variant? Read on to learn how to build back immune health after Omicron.

How does your immune system act after you recover from COVID-19?

During a viral infection, such as the COVID-19 infection, the immune system kicks into gear to help fight off the pathogen. The innate type of immunity that everyone is born with recognizes that there is some sort of threat in the body and springs into action. This begins to alert other immune cells to the threat so that they can come to fight off the infection using specialized tactics that make them more capable of ridding the body of a specific virus, as opposed to any blanket pathogen.

The immune system tries to hinder the virus’ ability to replicate throughout the body, which eventually leads to the death of the virus and recovery from illness. After recovery, the specialized immune cells that were made in response remain in the body in case the virus happens to invade again. The immune system begins slowing its response and returns to normal because it no longer needs to create new cells to fight off an active infection.


Image by CDC on Unsplash: How does Omicron affect immune health?


How does Omicron affect immune health?

Omicron has been a tricky variant because of the way it is able to infiltrate the immune system following a previous COVID-19 infection or vaccination. With both a prior infection or vaccination, it was assumed that the body had developed enough specific antibodies to fight off the infection if someone did come into contact with COVID-19 after the fact. The problem, however, is that people’s immune systems weren’t fully able to fight off the Omicron variant in this way, leading to breakthrough infections after vaccination and reinfection after previous COVID-19 cases. 

According to an article published in Nature, Omicron’s infection of people who had already had COVID-19 or been vaccinated is a type of biological phenomena that isn’t at all like what they had expected. Our immune systems weren’t quite ready to handle the Omicron variant, and thus haven’t been as strong against it.

It all comes down to how well B-cells (those that remember specific pathogens and remain in the body in case they return) are affected after a COVID-19 infection. In the months following recovery, these B cells will make their way into the lymph nodes, where they will battle it out in a last-one-standing situation where only the strongest B cells survive to be circulated back into the blood. This process of B cells either becoming stronger or dying off will allow their response to improve over time. Because of this, the strength of the immune system against a new COVID-19 infection will continue to get stronger the more time passes.

Importance of building up immune health after COVID infection

After recovering from a COVID-19 infection, many people will understand the importance of a strong immune system. The symptoms’ duration and severity will differ depending on each case, but for anyone who has had Omicron, building your immune system back up will be vital to ensure you have the best chance of not being reinfected in future. Since it’s been made clear that previous COVID-19 infections or vaccinations do not fully protect a person from getting it again, knowing that your immune system is well-prepared to fight off yet another variant will offer peace of mind as well as bodily protection.

That being said, the Omicron variant is a little different, and many studies are now finding that following an infection with Omicron, the immune system could in fact end up being stronger than ever. While many news outlets are calling it a sort of “superimmunity”, the truth is that research is suggesting that the combination of artificial and naturally created antibodies against COVID is resulting in an immune system that is stronger and more able to fight off an infection.


Image by Arya Pratama on Unsplash: Can you be reinfected with COVID-19 after having an Omicron infection?


How to build back immune health after Omicron

It’s important not to get too excited about the idea of “superimmunity”, as experts still maintain that COVID-19 is an unpredictable virus that could throw another curveball at a moment’s notice. That is why it’s important to protect and boost your immune health before, during, and after a COVID-19 infection.

You can do this by eating a diet full of nutrient-dense foods that help immune health, such as cruciferous vegetables, antioxidant-rich fruits, and good lean protein sources. Making sure that you move your body as often as possible and get good-quality sleep every night is also vital to immune health. While it may be difficult, one final thing you can do for your immune health is practice good coping techniques when it comes to the overabundance of stress you may feel on a day-to-day basis.

Even if you can’t completely avoid infection, you can arm your immune system with everything it needs to keep you safe and protected if the COVID-19 virus happens to get into your system.


Featured image by Heather Morse on Unsplash

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