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The sun and our immune system.

May 29, 2012

The skin of a 70Kg adult male would weigh just over 11Kg (16%).  With such a big potential for damage, it makes sense that our immune system is turned down (dimmed)  when we step out in the sun.

If like me, you get cold sores as a memento from your day on the beach you would tend to agree that the sun is definitely putting your immune system under stress but is it?  When it comes to the sun and our skin a bit of immunosuppression is actually a good thing.

If our bodies didn’t turn down our immune reaction when out in the sun, small sunburn could turn into an anaphylactic shock rather than just a prickly rash –  I know what I would rather have!  So, rather than thinking that the sun is putting our immune system under stress we should look at it as our immune system giving us a second chance – like it already knows that we are going to over do it!

And the cold sores? Well, for those who harbor this virus in the body, the immunosuppression action of the sun leaves the gate open just enough for the cold sore virus to kick in. Unfortunately, that is the pay off.

So, rather than trying to fight our natural responses we should assist the body by using sunscreen, boosting our general health (so that we deal with stresses more efficiently) and getting enough rest (strung out bodies tend to over-react.  I know from personal experience!).

Enjoy the sun safely and if you want to read up on cold sores some more then check this out. 

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