You hear coughing and look around to see where it is coming from so you can get some distance between you and the offender. You’re the person that always gets sick. If something is going around the office, you get sick. If you are traveling on an airplane or around new people, you get sick. If you touch a public door handle or railing, you get sick. You’re the person who always gets sick. You know lots of people who never seem to get sick and probably wonder, “why do I get sick all the time?”
We are always being exposed to germs and viruses. Exposure is important for a healthy immune response and building cells that can fight illness. A strong immune response will keep you healthy. That means getting sick sometimes too. It’s normal to get sick sometimes. That’s a healthy immune response in action. If you get sick all the time it is a sign your immune response is deficient, and you are more vulnerable to disease.
Are You Immune Deficient?
Here’s the thing though, it’s not just flu season you have to worry about. If you get sick all the time and have a hard time shaking it, it’s a sign you’re immune deficient. If you’re immune deficient that means your body can’t fight other battles like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. Yes, if your immune response is declined then you are more susceptible to chronic illness.
If exposure to illness has you scared, you need to think about what you are doing (or not doing). People who get sick all the time need to look deeper at their immune system and find out what they are doing to trigger the immune system. If you do things that cause inflammation it means your immune response is always on and can’t keep up when your body is exposed to illness.
There are common bad habits that are damaging to your body’s immune response and ability to recover.
7 Bad Habits that Let You Get Sick All the Time
1 – Allowing Stress to Rule
So many of us wear our stress as a badge of honor but you aren’t doing yourself any favors. Stress is an immune response killer that can lead to chronic inflammation and hormonal imbalances. If you’re body is fighting stress, then it has less resources for a healthy immune response. Find ways to reduce your stress!
2 – Eating Sweets and Hidden Sugars
It’s important to avoid all inflammatory foods, especially sugar. Sugar is harmful in so many ways and the average American eats far too much. How much is that? The average American eats 146 pounds a year. Yuck. Sugar can prevent your immune cells from developing and it leads to obesity which is very taxing on your immune system.
3 – Getting Vaccines
Does a flu shot, or any other vaccine for that matter, reduce or cause inflammation? You think vaccines are going to protect you, but they cause systemic inflammation and disrupt the immune response. The CDC’s own studies didn’t show a flu vaccine effectiveness over 60% in the past decade. For the 2018-2019 season it was only 29%. (1)
4 – Not Getting Enough Sleep
If you don’t sleep, your body can’t heal and that leaves your immune response ill prepared for the fight. You should be getting 8-10 hours of sleep and ideally getting to bed by 9 or 10 for the most restorative sleep. Find out more in our article on Healthy Z’s.
5 – Staying Inside
There are so many benefits to being outside and that includes supporting your immune system. One report found that those who spent regular time outside had reduced risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, premature death, stress, and those who lived in areas with easier access to nature reported better overall health. (2) It’s important to get outside and soak up some vitamin D on the regular. Vitamin D supports the immune system in addition to so many other physiological processes.
6 – Sitting Around
Don’t sit around! When the immune system produces those immune cells, they need to circulate. How do they circulate? Contraction of the lymphatics or when you get moving! Get out and exercise or try a vibe plate. They are incredible for lymphatics and getting immune cells into different tissues.
7- Not Feeding Your Immune System
Your immune system is based on what you feed your body. Your body needs nutrients, minerals, fats, and a variety of constituents to build your immune system. Eat a healthy variety of organic fruits, vegetables, fats and meats especially organ meats. Some herbs are made of a great variety of constituents like astragalus, which is great for feeding your bone marrow. (3) Your bone marrow produces immune cells. Feed your body healthy foods and supplement with herbs.
How’s Your Immune Response?
What if you do all the recommended tips to support your immune system and avoid things that case inflammation? It’s time for testing. I recommend testing for everyone but especially if you’re always sick. The best way to check on your immune response is to get a complete immune panel including hormones. This isn’t the common approach and you may need to find a clinic that will test fully. Without complete testing you won’t know if you’re low in certain immune cells like natural killer cells, neutrophils, macrophages or CD8 cells. You won’t know if there is an underlying cause of inflammation causing extra demand on your immune response.
Don’t Be the Person Who Always Gets Sick
If you have a healthy immune response you will be less vulnerable to disease. Not just the colds and flus but also the ones that come after years of being immune deficient. Illnesses like heart disease, cancer, diabetes and others. Avoid bad health habits and support that immune system!
Written by Dr. Patrick Flynn
Learn more in Dr. Patrick’s Video Series on the Immune Response: