Arrow-right Camera
Go to e-Edition Sign up for newsletters Customer service
Subscribe now

COVID-19

Will social distancing weaken my immune system?

UPDATED: Wed., Nov. 25, 2020

A banner emphasizing an enhanced social-distancing campaign is displayed on the wall of Seoul City Hall in Seoul, South Korea, on Wednesday. The banner reads, "We have to stop before COVID-19 stops everything."  (Ahn Young-joon/Associated Press)
A banner emphasizing an enhanced social-distancing campaign is displayed on the wall of Seoul City Hall in Seoul, South Korea, on Wednesday. The banner reads, "We have to stop before COVID-19 stops everything." (Ahn Young-joon/Associated Press)
Associated Press

Will social distancing weaken my immune system?

In short, no.

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

But even when we’re staying 6 feet from others or spending most of our time at home, our bodies are continuously responding to plenty of bacteria and other germs that inhabit indoor and outdoor environments.

“We’re constantly exposed to microbes,” said Akiko Iwasaki, an immune system researcher at Yale University. “Our immune system is always being triggered.”

The effects of childhood vaccines and other built-up immunity also are long-lasting, Iwasaki said, and won’t disappear overnight because we’re keeping our distance from others during the pandemic.

Experts say anyone looking to boost their immune health during the pandemic should practice habits such as stress management, healthy eating, regular exercise and getting enough sleep.

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

A seasonal flu shot also will help protect from one more potential illness.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter

Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.