Some people find they keep getting sick, no matter what precautions they take. They might develop a cold that seems to last for weeks, or kick one illness just to pick up another a few days later. There are a lot of reasons some people get sick more than others. In some cases, it is due to lifestyle and environmental factors they can adjust, but, sometimes, there is a more serious underlying problem.
Most people know that eating right facilitates long term health. A good diet protects against heart disease, diabetes, and more. Eating a variety of healthful foods also delivers vitamins, minerals, and nutrients the body needs to support the immune system. Without a proper diet, your body is unprepared to fight off the germs that make you sick.
If you are not getting enough exercise, your body may be more at risk for illness. Regular exercise decreases your chances of developing heart disease and helps your bones stay healthy, but there are several theories that indicate it could also help you avoid a cough or cold. Insufficient physical activity could lead to bacteria build-up in the lungs, which changes the white blood cells and antibodies, potentially leading to illness.
If you do not wash your hands appropriately, not only are you more likely to introduce germs into your own body, but you are also more likely to pass them on to someone else. In most cases, washing your hands is the best way to get rid of germs and protect you and your family from getting sick. Hand sanitizers are okay in a pinch, but they do not eliminate all types of germs. If your hands are visibly dirty, hand washing is the best way to make sure you get them clean.
A vitamin deficiency means your body does not have everything it needs to fight against sickness. Some dietitians believe that Vitamin C, vitamin B6, and vitamin E are especially important when it comes to avoiding illness. Make sure your diet includes enough citrus fruits, chicken, cold-water fish, nuts, seeds, and spinach, take a daily vitamin, or talk to your doctor about vitamin supplements.
Not getting enough sleep drastically affects your body’s ability to fight illness, causing you to get sick more often and lengthening the recovery time. Getting sick takes a toll on your body and if you are not rested, your body does not have the stamina it needs to fight off germs. Adults should get seven to eight hours every night. The average teenager needs nine to ten hours, and younger children can need ten hours or more. Sleeping in is not always better, as it can result in lower quality sleep. Ideally, get enough sleep every night so you aren’t trying to make it up days later.
An immune deficiency or disorder, impacts the body’s defenses, often resulting in more frequent or more serious illnesses. Some of these deficiencies are temporary. For example, infections like the flu can compromise the immune system. Chemotherapy and other immunosuppressive drugs also weaken these processes. Additionally, some inherited disorders cause lifelong risks of infection, although these affect fewer than 200,000 people across the US are considered rare.
Allergies are another reason some people consistently feel like they’re under the weather. This hypersensitive immune reaction occurs in response to an otherwise harmless environmental trigger. Pollen and food allergies are good examples. Depending on the type of allergy, symptoms include congestion, sneezing, watery eyes, a runny nose, breathing problems, and stomach pain or discomfort.
Autoimmune diseases directly cause frequent and extended illnesses when the cells in the immune system begin attacking healthy cells in the body. What body parts are affected by these diseases determines the symptoms. Some are organ-specific, such as type I diabetes, where the body recognizes pancreatic beta cells as foreign. There are also system autoimmune diseases like lupus that attack nearly all healthy cells.
Stress, which places the body in a constant fight-or-flight reaction, is another common reason some people feel unwell frequently. People who are already sick, as well as older adults, are more likely to be adversely affected. Some researchers believe that the duration stress and any resulting depression matters more than the severity of it.
Exposure and Kids
If you have kids or are around children often, you may find that you pick up more colds and other infections. Kids are constantly exposed to new viruses and germs in their many social interactions, and are less likely to practice ideal hygiene measures. As a result, they may bring these infections home and spread them throughout the family. Children build up immunity over the years, decreasing the frequency of infection.