The role of the immune system in healthy living can never be underrated. Although the COVID-19 pandemic gave us all a crash course on the crucial role of the body's defense mechanism, certain red flags such as frequent infections and fatigue may be often overlooked.

Here are the signs to watch out for:

1. Recurrent infections - Falling frequently ill with cold, flu and yeast infections can be a warning sign that the body has a weak defense mechanism. According to the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology, needing more than four courses of antibiotic treatment in a year in children and more than two courses in adults can be a sign of weak immunity.

2. Digestive issues - Studies have shown that low amounts of beneficial gut bacteria and microbes can impact the immunity of people. Frequent digestive issues such as diarrhea, gas or constipation may be early warning signs of compromised immunity.

3. Weight loss - Unexplained weight loss can indicate underlying health issues and weak immunity.

4. Frequent skin problems - The appearance of skin rashes and infections suggests deficiencies in the immune system.

5. Slow healing - If you notice burns or cuts taking unusually longer to heal, you might need to check with a health specialist, as it can be a sign of a weak immune system.

6. Sudden onset of allergies - Increased sensitivity to certain food and sudden onset of allergies are signs of impaired immune function.

7. Fatigue - When the immune system is overworked, you may feel chronic fatigue, the tiredness that may not improve after rest.

8. Autoimmune disorders - It is a condition in which the immune system attacks the body's tissues by mistake. The diagnosis of conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus or celiac disease shows the malfunctioning of the immune system.

Tips to keep the immune system healthy

1. Sleep - Both quality and quantity of sleep can affect the immune system. Research has shown that adequate sleep can reduce inflammation and improve memories of antibodies required for fighting off infections.

2. Get Vitamin D - Low levels of vitamin D are associated with an increased risk of infections, including COVID-19 and autoimmune disorders. Checking blood for vitamin D and supplementing if necessary can help in boosting immunity.

3. Manage stress - Chronic stress increases inflammation and suppresses the immune system. Managing stress using meditation, breathing exercises and other techniques can strengthen the immune response.

4. Quit smoking and alcohol - Smoking and drinking alcohol are detrimental factors affecting the immune system. Limiting alcohol intake and quitting smoking can reverse the effects.

5. Exercise and healthy weight - Eating a balanced diet and following a healthy lifestyle can help in achieving a healthy weight necessary for keeping the immune system functioning.