You may get sick more often if you have certain health conditions. It could be related to a vitamin deficiency, dehydration, or diet, among other possibilities.
If you get sick often, it may be due to your immune system function or other health conditions that affect it. While you can’t always prevent illness, you may be able to change your diet and routine to support better immune health.
Keep reading to learn potential causes and remedies for constantly feeling sick.
Your body can’t function at its best if you don’t eat a well-rounded, balanced diet. A diet that’s missing essential nutrients or high in sugar and processed food can affect your gut and immune health. It may also increase the risk of various illnesses.
Good nutrition is about getting the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals your body needs. Different age groups have different nutritional needs and requirements, but the same general rules apply to people of all ages:
- Eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables daily.
- If you don’t already, choose lean proteins and incorporate plant-based proteins into your diet, such as tofu, beans, and nuts.
- Eat fatty seafood and fish, such as salmon or oysters for omega-3 fatty acids, or consider a supplement.
- Limit your daily intake of refined sugar and refined grains.
- Limit your intake of ultra-processed foods.
- Opt for whole grains when you can.
- Eat foods containing fiber.
- Eat foods containing healthy bacteria (probiotics).
If you get sick often, you may find boosting your vitamin D intake helpful.
According to a
You can increase your vitamin D levels by:
Every tissue and organ within the body depends on water. It helps carry nutrients and minerals to cells and keeps your mouth, nose, and throat moist — important for avoiding illness. Even though the body is made up of 60% water, you lose fluids through urination, bowel movements, sweating, and even breathing. Dehydration occurs when you don’t adequately replace the fluids you lose.
Symptoms of mild to moderate dehydration can include:
- general aches and pains
Both acute and chronic dehydration can be dangerous, even life threatening. Symptoms can include:
- extreme thirst
- sunken eyes
- low blood pressure, or hypotension
- fast heartbeat
- confusion or lethargy
The treatment is simple: sip water all day, especially in hot or humid conditions. Eating foods with high water content, such as fruits and vegetables, also keeps you hydrated.
People who don’t get enough sleep each night are more likely to get sick. Sleep deprivation lowers your body’s natural ability to fight infections and viruses.
Regularly sleeping 6 hours or less
- shorter life span
- increased risk of viral infection
- reduced antibody response to vaccinations
Long-term sleep deprivation may increase your risk of:
Most adults need at
Your hands come into contact with many germs throughout the day. You may contract an illness when you touch germ-containing surfaces and then touch your face, lips, or food.
Washing your hands with warm running water and soap for 20 seconds (hum the “Happy Birthday” song twice) helps you stay healthy and avoid illness-causing germs. When clean water and soap aren’t available, you can use alcohol-based hand sanitizers that contain at least
Disinfect countertops, door handles, and electronics such as your phone, tablet, or computer with wipes when you’re sick. To prevent the spread of illness, the
- before and after food preparation
- before eating
- before and after caring for a person who is sick
- before and after treating a wound
- after using the bathroom
- after changing diapers or assisting a child with potty training
- after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose
- after touching pets or handling pet waste or food
- after handling garbage
Your teeth are a window into your health, and your mouth is a haven for both good and bad bacteria. When you’re not sick, your body’s natural defenses help maintain your oral health. Daily brushing and flossing also keep dangerous bacteria in check. But when harmful bacteria grow out of control, it can make you sick and cause inflammation and problems elsewhere in your body.
Long-term, chronic oral health problems can have bigger consequences. Poor oral health is linked to several conditions, including:
- heart disease
- premature birth
- low birth weight
- endocarditis, an infection in the inner lining of the heart
To promote healthy teeth and gums, you can brush and floss your teeth at least twice a day, especially after meals. You can also schedule regular checkups with your dentist. Get more tips for preventing oral health problems.
Immune system disorders occur when a person’s immune system doesn’t fight antigens. Antigensare harmful substances, including:
The body typically fights antigens with antibodies. Antibodies are proteins that destroy harmful substances. However, some people have immune systems that can’t produce effective antibodies to prevent illness. This is known as an immunodeficiency disorder.
You can inherit an immunodeficiency. Or it can result from malnutrition, certain medications like chemotherapy, or another health condition like leukemia or hepatitis. Your immune system also tends to get weaker as you get older.
Talk with a doctor if you suspect you or a family member has an immunodeficiency disorder.
A low white blood cell (WBC) count may also result in you getting sick more often. This condition is known as leukopenia, and it can be genetic or caused by another illness. A low WBC count increases your risk of infection.
On the other hand, a high WBC count can protect you against disease. Like a low WBC count, a high WBC count can also result from genetics. For this reason, some people may be more naturally equipped to fight a cold or flu.
The symptoms of nonallergic rhinitis are similar to those of an allergic reaction. But instead of being caused by allergens like ragweed or tree pollen, nonallergic rhinitis triggers include:
- strong odors
- certain foods
- changes in the weather
- dry air
Irritation and swelling of the lining of the nasal passages cause nonallergic rhinitis. The blood vessels in your nose expand, and blood rushes into the nasal lining. This causes expansion and inflammation in your nose and triggers allergy-like symptoms. People may get a nonallergic rhinitis diagnosis after undergoing allergy testing.
Treatment for the condition depends on:
- the severity of your symptoms
- your triggers
- if you have other conditions that may complicate treatment
Stress is a natural part of life and can even be healthy in small increments. But chronic stress can take a toll on your body. It can increase your risk of getting sick and lower your body’s natural immune response. A reduced immune response can:
- delay healing
- increase the frequency and severity of infections
- aggravate existing health problems
Practice stress reduction techniques, such as:
- taking a break from your computer
- avoiding your cell phone for several hours after you get home
- listening to soothing music after a stressful work meeting
- exercising to help reduce stress and improve your mood
You may find relaxation through music or meditation. Whatever it is, find something that reduces your stress and helps you relax. Consider seeking help from a professional if you can’t manage stress on your own.
Kids have the most social contact, which puts them at high risk for carrying and transmitting germs. Playing with fellow students, playing on playground equipment, and picking up objects from the ground are just a few instances where germs can be contracted.
Teach your child good hygiene habits, such as frequent handwashing and bathing regularly. This can help reduce the spread of viruses and germs around your household. Wash your hands frequently, wipe down common surfaces, especially when someone gets sick, and keep your child home if they are sick.
If you’re always getting sick, look closely at your habits and environment. Once you know what’s making you sick, you can take steps to improve your health, whether by talking with a doctor or changing your diet and routine.