Bridge games involve people getting together from all over the neighborhood, country and/or world. It’s a great way to get to know other people, but it’s also a great way for immune systems to meet and sometimes clash.
With a healthy immune system, you might meet someone with the flu and not get sick – but with an immune system that’s not at its peak, it’s very likely that you’ll get sick – and even more likely that you’ll stay sick for longer.
Are you taking care of your health?
Here are 7 important facts about immune systems and bridge.
1. Bridge can help to improve the immune system.
We know that playing bridge and other board games on a regular basis can help to improve brain health, but did you know that it can also improve the immune system? It turns out that sparking up the brain can also help to fire up a few other things in the body, including your immune system’s overall resilience.
2. Sick after a bridge game? It could be your immune system.
If you’re getting sick often a few days or weeks after meeting up with your bridge club – or any other gathering where people get together – it could be your immune system.
While your immune system is supposed to protect you from illnesses in the event that you’re exposed to them, it doesn’t always work that way:
During low-points for your immune system, you could be hit by longer-lasting bouts of the same thing, like getting hit by colds or flu several times through the year.
3. Chronic conditions can cause immune system deficiencies.
Many chronic conditions can cause permanent immune system deficiencies. The immune system appears compromised almost no matter what you do – and illnesses are more likely to affect you by default.
Conditions like this are usually characterized by immune system flare-ups (where the body might mistake its own cells for intruding viruses) and result in the body going utterly haywire. Symptoms that seem unrelated can often trace right back to an overexcited response by the body’s immune system.
Any chronic condition of this type means that it’s a good idea to take precautions. Even when you think you feel better, always assume that your immune system is at a default level of risk.
4. Bridge tournaments and events can put an immune system on high alert.
How many people at a bridge tournament have flu right now? How many have had flu in the past week? How many show symptoms versus how many don’t? How many are still carriers? How many of these flu strains has your body not dealt with beforehand?
These questions aren’t meant as discouragement, but these are questions a chronic patient asks every time they have to leave the house – and they are all questions that apply when leaving for an event where there’s a lot of people (even if that event is going to the supermarket).
When meeting a few people on the same day, you can bet that your immune system will be a little thrown: It’s how you’re taking care of it that draws the line between who gets ill and who goes back home healthy.
5. You can take precautions to reduce your risk of getting sick.
Obsessive OCD-like cleaning won’t get you anywhere, but taking the right amount of precautions can reduce your chances of getting sick – even with a chronic condition or beaten down immune system.
Hand sanitizer goes a long way, and can cut out a great deal of the potential pathogens you might encounter. Including the right things in your diet – especially the right spices – helps to give you the boost for the rest of the way.
6. Supplements can only do so much for improving a player’s health.
I see a lot of supplements and miracle cures being sold all over the internet. Here’s the truth:
1. If it’s not approved and tested, it’s a placebo, pipe dream or death trap.
2. Clear all supplements you take with your doctor first. Find ones useful to your own health or medical condition (as opposed to the ones sold as miracles).
3. Supplements can help, but you can also take enough for them to be useless or dangerous.
Supplements like Vitamin C can commonly be taken to the point of overuse. Your body can only absorb a finite quantity of what you’re putting in: The rest is expelled as fast as possible, and could do some damage to your organs on the way out depending on which vitamin, mineral or supplement we’re talking about.
Even the use of “simple” vitamins and supplements should always be checked out with your doctor, especially where it can clash with something you’re already taking.
7. Know what’s not clean? Your smartphone.
If you’re feeling too sick to show up at a bridge game in person, there’s always BBO. Just make sure to clean your smartphone beforehand.
This doesn’t even mean something particularly high-tech. It just means clean your phone.
Smartphone screens are potential germ incubators, and it’s likely that your toilet seat contains a fractional amount of the bacteria your phone does.
Scary, right? Simple antibacterial wipes should do.