Your immune system is a collection of billions of cells (including lymphocytes) moving in the bloodstream. These cells travel in and out of both tissues and organs. They attack foreign bodies such as viruses, bacteria and cancerous cells. Lymphocytes come in two types: T cells, which destroy infected cells, and B cells, which produce antibodies to destroy invaders (antigens).

When we are stressed, the brain releases a hormone called corticosteroid, which lowers the number of lymphocytes making us more vulnerable to viruses such as COVID10. Thus, when we are stressed, our immune system’s ability to fight off invaders (antigens), such as the coronavirus, is depressed making us more susceptible to infection.

This means that an important part of prevention – in addition to social distancing, wearing masks, disinfecting – is reducing your level of stress. With this in mind, this may be an important time to reach out for some therapeutic support. Having someone to problem solve with, help keep you on track with self-care or provide a guided relaxation session, can go a long way to reducing your stress and boosting your immune system. This in turn, reduces your risk of contracting COVID-19.

So, if you are presently dealing with a lot of stress, call us to schedule telephone or online sessions. Since we have no effective treatment for COVID-19, prevention is key to maintaining good health and stress management is key to prevention.

I personally want to encourage my fellow healthcare workers (physicians, PA’s, ARNP’s, nurses, nurses aids, CNA’s) to do a few sessions as you need to remain healthy in order to care for your own patients and to avoid infecting your family members. We offer face-to-face sessions, telephone sessions and online sessions at your convenience.

Susan L. Crum, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist. Central Florida Neuropsychology, LLC is at 4844 Sun ‘N Lake Blvd. in Sebring.