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Will social distancing weaken my immune system?

Will social distancing weaken my immune system?

In short, no.

Some worry that lack of contact with others will weaken their immune system by reducing its active contact with microbes.

But even when we stand 6 feet away from others or spend most of our time at home, our bodies constantly respond to many bacteria and other microbes that inhabit the indoor and outdoor environment.

“We’re constantly exposed to germs,”

; ​​said Akiko Iwasaki, an immune system researcher at Yale University. “Our immune system is always activated.”

The effects of childhood vaccines and other accumulated immune systems are also long-lasting, Iwasaki said, and will not go away overnight because we stay away from others during a pandemic.

Experts say anyone who wants to improve their immune health during a pandemic should practice habits such as stress management, healthy eating, regular exercise and enough sleep.

“These are the things that actually affect the immune system,” Iwasaki said.

A seasonal flu shot will also help protect you from another potential illness.


AP answers your questions about the coronavirus in this series. Send them to: FactCheck@AP.org.

Read the previous viral questions:

How does the coronavirus affect the heart?

Does the flu vaccine affect my chances of getting COVID-19?

Do I have immunity to coronavirus if I already have it?

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