Ever notice how some people get sick all the time – colds, flus, stomach viruses, and so on? Those people who seem to pick up every bug they come into contact with?
And then there are others who are always healthy and seem to never have an encounter with a germ?
Sometimes there is a simple explanation – an immune deficiency, or other genetic predisposition that leads to a less-than-robust immune system.
Or, it has to do with something else we can’t change now – such as how much time we spent outside in childhood. A popular theory as to why some people may be more prone to illness is the hygiene hypothesis – the more bacteria and viruses you come into contact with as a kid, the “smarter” your immune system becomes.
As for the present moment, another reason might be that you’re just coming into contact with more germs – you’re a parent of a young child, or a teacher, or working with sick people.
(By the way, if this sounds like you, you’ll want to check out Dr. Blum’s new LIVE course, The Immune Recovery Challenge! It’s a group program specifically designed to help you heal your immune system. Check it out)
But if none of the above are the case, why else might you be getting sick all the time?
6 Reasons You Get Sick All the Time
You’re too stressed out.
Studies have shown that the amount of stress hormone you are producing directly correlates your likelihood of getting a cold.
How to de-stress?
- Sometimes, changing how you schedule your time is the best way to decrease anxiety. Making and keeping a schedule for your busy life can be freeing – especially if you are sure to schedule in (and keep) some time just to be.
- Meditation, too, is one of my favorite ways to lessen that stress – just 5-10 minutes of seated breathing exercises a day can bring down your stress hormones and keep those bugs from making you sick.
You’re not getting enough sleep.
Studies show that sleeping more than 7 hours nightly is protective – and less than 5 is VERY detrimental. I consider a goal of between 8 and 9 hours for adults best.
How to make the zzz’s happen?
- Give yourself a bedtime ritual – and a regular bedtime. A calming tea, a Epsom salt bath, or that 10 minute meditation sounds good to me.
- Banish the screens 2 hours before your scheduled bedtime. It’s not just that they are often stress-inducing (see above), but the light from our devices can be what is keeping us from our restful sleep.
You’re not eating right.
Certain nutrients are home-runs when it comes to keeping us away from the tissue box. The big ones are Vitamins A, D, and of course, C – and Omega fatty acids (fish oil) – and the miracle mineral Zinc.
Where to find those super-nutrients?
- Healthy, whole foods and a variety of them. Eat plenty of vegetables and fruit.
- Supplementation can be helpful during the cold season too. Those zinc lozenges with vitamin C can work wonders if you notice you are starting to feel run down.
You’re not active enough.
Activity boosts the immune system. It’s well-studied that people who exercise regularly have a reduced chance of becoming ill – and that being a couch potato lowers the cells in your immune system that fight infection
How to make the move?
- Pick activities you actually enjoy doing. Play around with exercise until you find something you like. This will make you 100x more likely to get it done.
- Mix it up – variety will help you stick with a program. Walk one day, go to an exercise class another, swim another.
You don’t wash your hands.
You have germs on your hands, and touch your face frequently, often without realizing it. The CDC recommends improved hand hygiene to avoid spreading germs – and it’s been shown over and over again to work.
How to do it?
- Wash hands frequently throughout the day with soap and warm water. Carry a hand lotion with you if this dries your skin.
- If there’s nowhere to wash and you’ve been touching lots of stuff, antimicrobial are an acceptable (but imperfect) alternative.
Your gut is a mess.
Gut microbiota that are out of balance can lead to so many distressing things, including getting sick more often. A healthy, thriving ecology in the colon is protective against the germs looking to take up residence in our throat and lungs and sinuses.
How to rebalance the microbiome?
- An easy (and well studied for boosting immunity) step is to just take a daily broad spectrum probiotic.
- Eat healthy whole foods, including lots of fiber to feed the microbes, and probiotic foods like yogurt to support a robust environment.
How We Can Help You Improve Your Immune System
Do it with Dr. Blum! Yes, that’s right! Dr. Blum’s new LIVE course, The Immune Recovery Challenge is open! The Immune Recovery Challenge is the step-by-step companion to Dr. Blum’s bestselling book, The Immune System Recovery Plan. During the course, you will follow the 4-Step Immune System Recovery Plan together with Dr. Blum, using video and live coaching. It’s devoted to your HEALTH TRANSFORMATION! Get the Info
If you want personal one-to-one treatment, come to Blum Center for Health. People travel from around the world to meet with our practitioners. You’ll meet with your practitioner for an hour and a half, meet with our Functional Medicine Nutritionist, and receive your first treatment plan. Get More Info
Meet Darcy McConnell, M.D.: Dr. McConnell brings her broad expertise in prevention, mind-body medicine, and women’s health to Blum Center for Health, in Rye Brook, NY. She is board certified in Family Medicine and Integrative Medicine, with postgraduate training from the Institute for Functional Medicine. Darcy lives with her husband and three sons and enjoys the outdoors, cooking healthy meals for her family and friends and is an enthusiastic yogi.