The new reality of wearing masks, living in social isolation and, prolonged lockdown had made us approach life in a different way.
The omnipresent threat of falling victim to the virus has definitely had its impact on us.
How The Covid-19 Pandemic Impacted Our Life
Many of the common and insignificant aspects of everyday life have lost their commonality, more like the fear and worry that now associates the once simple symptoms of fever or flu.
Let us decipher the deeper effects of these changes in our everyday life.
Effects on the immune system.
The lifestyle changes that came along with the virus are expected to have some impact on our immune system, according to certain beliefs.
Concerns were expressed among the populace that the body’s inbuilt immune system is weakening since intermixing of people has been suspended.
Questions arise if such changes compromise the memory of our immune system.
However, expert views have a different alternative for adults and children.
Experts like MIT Medical, states that the immune system of an individual is exposed to a wide range of bacteria and viruses as a person reaches adult years.
Such encounter during the developmental years shapes the immune system to provide protection against any invading germs.
The immune system learns how to fight germs and doesn’t lose memory even during prolonged social distancing periods.
Despite the assurance from experts, the concern remains regarding children since their immune system is still in the developing stage.
Implications of the hygiene hypothesis.
Recent times have accustomed caregivers and parents to the concept of the hygiene hypothesis, even if the discreet meaning remains unclear.
It is an idea that suggests a relation between increased allergic reactions and reduced germ exposure in childhood.
Such correlation is caused by sanitation measures introduced in children like repeated hand wash, aimed at curbing infections.
This theory was first put forward by Dr. David Strachan in a 1989 article published in BMJ.
Prof. Sally F Bloomfield, along with colleagues, further analyzed the proposition of Dr. Strachan.
The study appeared in the journal ‘Perspectives in Public Health’ in the 2016 edition.
According to the study, the immune system resembled a computer, which has empty hardware and software during birth.
Data is accumulated in the system during the initial years after birth by associating with people and microbes in the natural environment.
However, if the accrued data is insufficient, the immune system fails to learn.
This causes allergic reactions to not only harmful particles but insignificant objects like simple house dirt.
Whether this theory should raise the alarm among the parents of young children come with a mixed probability of positives and negatives
The dynamic of friendly and not-so-friendly microorganisms.
Prof. Bloomberg suggests that the development of the immune system is influenced by the reaction of the host and microbe.
Hygiene does not play any role in sculpting the immunity mechanism of our body.
Hence the term ‘Hygiene Hypothesis’ is considered confusing and ambiguous.
However, the general practice of hygiene is more important in present times of viral infection.
Since viruses can only be retrained by maintaining cleanliness and not by antibiotics.
Does isolation impact immunity.
Stress is a contributing factor in the functioning of the immune system.
According to a publication in the Cardiovascular Research journal, high inflammation is a root cause of cardiovascular and immune symptoms
Social isolation was related to repression of type I and type II interferons and response to viruses.
The derivation was obtained from studies with socially secluded mice, primates, and certain other animal species.
Points to contemplate
For all humans, regardless of age, engaging in any kind of social activity is advantageous for the development of immunity.
Further analysis is required to assess the impact of the pandemic on the immune system of newborn children.
The definite verdict on the role of social distancing in our immunity is yet to arrive; till then, practicing the hygiene measures is of utmost priority.