What happens to your body when you are sick (and why you need to be careful)
There’s not much you can do to avoid the flu if it’s going around your office. Before you know it, you’re waking up with a fever and feeling achy.
Fun Fact: Did you know that most of the symptoms of the flu are caused by the immune response
to the virus?
The cells within your immune system express receptors that are able to sense the presence of the virus. They then effectively “sound the alarm” by producing small hormone-like molecules to alert the rest of the body. Varied types of white blood cells are called upon to fight off the infection. Specifically, the T lymphocytes which begin to multiply in the lymph nodes around the lungs and throat. Hence why you may experience swelling in the neck nodes.
What’s with the annoying cough?
When these cells travel to the lungs to fight off the infection, they can cause damage similar to that of bronchitis, making it harder to breathe (another lovely symptom). Finally, the build-up of mucus in your lungs courtesy of your body’s immune response, causes that annoying cough. This is your body’s way of effectively getting rid of the dead virus cells.
But what about the other symptoms of the flu? Headache, fatigue and muscle aches?
This is the beginning of a series of events courtesy of the small proteins (cytokines and chemokines) made by your cells entering the bloodstream. The release of these proteins can cause the body to feel aches and pains as a side effect, however it is an important sign that your immune system is working! Dehydration can also further enhance your aches.
Finally, why you shouldn’t workout if you have a fever.
A fever triggered by a viral or bacterial infection can wreak havoc on your muscles. You may
experience symptoms such as weakness, dehydration, muscle aches and loss of appetite. Not only will working out with a fever put you at risk of dehydration, having a fever decreases muscle strength and endurance and impairs precision and coordination. This can increase the risk of injury when you are working out. Not to mention you won’t be feeling too crash hot (uh, cold?!?)!