Will working from home weaken your immune system?
In this era of the COVID-19 pandemic, working from home has become the new normal for many people. Whether you’re working from home because your office is closed or you’ve elected to do so as a precautionary measure, you may have concerns about sheltering in place and how it could weaken your immune system.
Will working from home weaken your immune system? What if you have to go into the office even for one day a week? Won’t you be more susceptible to colds and the flu because your immune system has been weakened due to social isolation?
According to many health experts, there is no evidence that your immune system becomes weakened due to staying home for extended periods of time. By the time you’ve reached adulthood, you have already created a healthy immune system that can respond to microbes. Your immune system “remembers” these viral and bacterial markers, and, when they show up in your body, your immune system goes into action, making antibodies to destroy them.1
Follow expert advice
Stephen Morse, a professor of epidemiology at the Columbia University Medical Center, maintains that, while there is some “mixed” evidence for the idea that isolation from irritants (germs) may result in a weaker immune system, it is far more likely that you’d have more opportunities for catching a cold or the flu by being around more people vs a lack of exposure due to working from home.2
However, that doesn’t mean that working from home and social distancing won’t have an effect on your immune system. The psychological effects of social isolation — loneliness and stress — have potentially harmful effects on the function of your immune system. Research shows that your antiviral response is suppressed when you feel lonely.3 In fact, one experiment found that people with many social ties are less susceptible to the common cold.4
Stress raises the amount of the hormone cortisol in your bloodstream. Having too much cortisol can increase your body’s inflammatory response and weaken your immune system. Stress also decreases the body’s lymphocytes, the white blood cells that fight off infection, making you more vulnerable to viruses and infections.5
What you can do about it
The COVID pandemic has created different types of stress for everyone, including the stress of having to socially isolate while working from home as well as the stress of going back to the office and worrying about the risk of exposure.
Therefore, it’s very important that you maintain a healthy immune system — eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly, get a good night’s sleep. And, add PowerHI, a powerful blend of natural enzymes and antioxidants, offered by Vibrant Nutraceuticals, to your daily routine to help boost your immune system.
1 Kim Schive (MAY 26, 2020) “Is all this social distancing weakening our immune systems?”, MIT Medical.
2 February 22, 2019 Could working from home weaken your immune system? Here’s what the experts say, Advisory Board.
3 Cole, S.W., Hawkley, L.C., Arevalo, J.M. et al. Genome Biol 8, R189 (2007) Social regulation of gene expression in human leukocytes, Springer Nature | BioMed Central Ltd.
4 Cohen S, Doyle WJ, Skoner DP, Rabin BS, Gwaltney JM Jr. JAMA. (1997) Social ties and susceptibility to the common cold, National Library of Medicine/NCBI.
5 Suzanne C. Segerstrom and Gregory E. Miller University of Kentucky (2006) Psychological Stress and the Human Immune System: A Meta-Analytic Study of 30 Years of Inquire, National Library of Medicine/NCBI.
NOTE: The MIT Medical, Advisory Board, BioMed Central Ltd, and National Center for Biotechnology Information, have not reviewed or approved the above article.