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Why Am I Always Sick?

What’s Making You Sick?

There isn’t anyone who hasn’t
gotten a cold or virus just days before a big event. For some people, being
sick is a way of life, and days of feeling well are few and far between.
Getting rid of sniffles, sneezing, and headaches may seem like a dream, but it’s possible. However, you have to first know what’s making you sick.

You Are What You Eat

“An apple a day keeps the doctor away” is a simple saying
that holds some truth. If you don’t eat a well-rounded, balanced diet, your body can’t function at its best. A poor diet
also increases the risk of various illnesses. 

Good nutrition is about getting the
nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that 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
    variety of fruits and vegetables daily
  • choose
    lean proteins over fatty ones
  • limit
    your daily intake of fats, sodium, and sugars
  • eat
    whole grains whenever possible

Dehydration

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 percent water, you lose fluids through
urination, bowel movements, sweating, and even breathing. Dehydration occurs
when you don’t adequately replace the fluids you
lose.

Mild to moderate dehydration is
sometimes difficult to identify, but it can make you sick. Symptoms of mild to
moderate dehydration can be mistaken for general aches and pains, fatigue,
headache, and constipation. Both acute and chronic dehydration can be dangerous,
even life threatening. Symptoms include:

  • extreme
    thirst
  • sunken
    eyes
  • headache
  • low
    blood pressure
  • fast
    heartbeat
  • confusion
    or lethargy

The treatment is simple: sip water
all day long, especially in hot or humid conditions. Eating foods with a high
water content, such as fruits and vegetables, also keeps you hydrated
throughout the day. As long as you urinate regularly and don’t feel thirsty, you’re
likely drinking enough to stay hydrated. Another gauge of adequate hydration is
that your urine color should be clear (or almost clear).

Sleep Deprivation

People who don’t get enough sleep each night are more likely to get
sick.

Your immune system releases
cytokines while you sleep. Cytokines are protein-messengers that fight
inflammation and disease. Your body needs more of these proteins when you’re sick or stressed. Your body can’t produce enough of the protective proteins if you’re sleep deprived. This lowers your body’s natural ability to fight infections and viruses.

Long-term sleep deprivation also
increases your risk of:

  • obesity
  • heart
    disease
  • cardiovascular
    problems
  • diabetes

Most adults need between seven and
eight hours of sleep each day. Teenagers and children need as much as 10 hours
of sleep each day, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Dirty Hands

Your hands come in contact with
many germs throughout the day. When you don’t
wash your hands regularly, and then touch your face, lips, or your food, you can spread illnesses.
You can even reinfect yourself. 

Simply washing your hands with
running water and antibacterial soap for 20 seconds (hum the “Happy Birthday” song
twice) helps you stay healthy and avoid illness-causing bacteria. Use
alcohol-based hand sanitizers that contain at least 60 percent alcohol when
clean water and soap aren’t
available.

Disinfect countertops, door
handles, and electronics (such as your phone, tablet, and computer) with wipes
when you’re sick. To prevent the spread of
illness, the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention
recommends washing your hands:

  • 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 

Bad Oral Health

Your teeth are a window into your
health, and your mouth is a safe 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
keeps dangerous bacteria in check. But when harmful bacteria grows 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
  • stroke
  • premature birth
  • low birth weight
  • endocarditis (an
    infection in the inner lining of the heart)

To promote healthy teeth and gums,
brush and floss your teeth at least twice a day (especially after meals), and schedule
regular checkups with your dentist.

Immune System Disorders

Immune system disorders occur when
a person’s immune system doesn’t fight antigens. Antigens are harmful substances, such as:

  • bacteria
  • toxins
  • cancer cells
  • viruses
  • fungi
  • allergens (such as
    pollen)
  • foreign blood or tissues

In a healthy body, an invading
antigen is met by antibodies. Antibodies are proteins that destroy harmful
substances. However, some people have immune systems that don’t work as well as they should. These immune systems can’t produce effective antibodies to
prevent illness.

You can inherit an immune system
disorder, or it can result from malnutrition (not getting enough vitamins and
nutrients). Your immune system also tends to get weaker as you get older.

Talk with your doctor if you
suspect you or a family member has an immune system disorder.

Allergy Symptoms Without the Allergies?

You can experience symptoms of
seasonal allergies, such as itchy eyes, watery nose, and a stuffy head without
actually having allergies. This condition is called nonallergic rhinitis.

According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation
of America
(AAFA), this condition affects almost 20 million Americans.

The symptoms of nonallergic
rhinitis are similar to those of an allergic reaction. But instead of being
caused by ragweed, grass, tree pollen, or another typical allergen, nonallergic
rhinitis is caused by strong odors, certain foods, stress, changes in the
weather, or even 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 abnormal
expansion and inflammation in your nose, which triggers the telltale allergy
symptoms. Most people are diagnosed with nonallergic rhinitis after undergoing
allergy testing.

Treatment for the condition depends
on:

  • severity
    of your symptoms
  • your triggers
  • if you have other conditions that
    may complicate treatment

Most people can use a steroid-based
nasal spray to flush the nose of irritants and reduce inflammation.
Over-the-counter and prescription decongestants are also effective. Side
effects of long-term use include high blood pressure, loss of appetite, and
anxiety.

Too Much Stress

Stress is a normal part of life. It
can be healthy in small increments. But chronic stress can take a toll on your
body and make you sick. Chronic stress can lower your body’s natural immune response. This can delay healing,
increase the frequency and severity of infections, and 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, art, or meditation. Whatever it is, find something that reduces your
stress and helps you relax. Seek professional help if you can’t control stress on your own.

Germs and Kids

Kids have the most social contact, which puts them at high risk for
carrying and transmitting germs.
Playing with fellow
students, playing on
dirty playground equipment, and picking up objects from the ground are just a few instances where
germs can be spread.

Teach your child good hygiene
habits, such as frequent hand washing, and bathe them
everyday. This helps stop the spread of viruses and germs around your
household. Wash your own hands frequently, wipe down common surfaces when
someone gets sick, and keep your child home if they are sick.

Outlook

Once you know what’s making you sick, you can take
steps to improve your health, whether it’s by making some lifestyle changes or talking to your doctor.

Posted by: Dr.Health

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