4 reasons why you always get sick!

Verified on 12/13/2023 by Alexane Flament, Editor
4 raisons qui expliquent pourquoi vous tombez toujours malade !

On average, how many times do you get sick a year? The answer may vary considerably from one person to another, but if you feel you’re catching every disease in the book while your friends are always spared, perhaps you need to start asking yourself some questions.

In today’s world, we’re regularly exposed to all kinds of illnesses, including cold viruses, flu, respiratory syncytial virus and COVID-19.

Interviewed by Today.com, Dr. Otto Yang, professor of medicine specializing in infectious diseases, microbiology and immunology at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine, explains that it’snormal for an adult to catch between one and three colds a year.

But if you’re the kind of person who gets sick regularly, here are 4 reasons why.

Level of exposure to disease

A first reason why you might be getting sick regularly is your level of exposure to a particular virus, and whether or not you take precautions to protect yourself against it .

Then there’s the way your immune system reacts to this exposure.

A person who tends not to go out and wash their hands regularly with soap or hydro-alcoholic gel will be less likely to catch a cold than someone who is very sociable or whose work requires them to interact frequently with other people.

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Age plays an important role in how often you get sick.

Indeed, the type of exposure you have at nursery school is very different from that which you have as a student, which in turn is very different from that to which you are exposed as an adult working in an open-plan office.

According to Andy Pekosz, virologist and Professor of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, an adult between the ages of 30 and 40 has been exposed to numerous viruses over the course of his or her life, from colds and flu to strep throat and Covid-19, all of which have helped to develop immunity.

On the contrary, children are the most likely to fall ill, not least because they live in collective environments such as schools . By extension, their parents are also highly exposed to the viruses their children may bring home from school.

The strength of the immune system

After being exposed to a particular pathogen, your immune system determines whether or not you get sick.

« There is a diversity of immune responses among individuals, with some being better able to cope with certain types of infection than others, » explains Dr. Otto Yang.

The immune system is immensely complex, and small variations, defects and genetic differences between individuals can determine the likelihood of falling ill and the intensity of disease.

It’s not impossible that a person who falls ill frequently has an underlying disease that affects their immune system .

In concrete terms, someone who is immunocompromised is more likely to be infected, even if their level of exposure is the same as that of other people, simply because their immune system is weaker.

The multiplicity of diseases in circulation

There’s another, less obvious factor that can make you feel like you’re catching more diseases than usual: several of them may be circulating at the same time.

According to Santé publique France, influenza, gastroenteritis and bronchiolitis are the three main infections circulating in France in winter.

Added to this, of course, are colds, Covid-19 and, exceptionally this year, an epidemic of pneumopathy.

Unfortunately, in the face of so many viruses, immune systems are put to the test.

It’s worth noting that there may be other reasons why a person falls ill so often: poor diet, lack of exercise and stress are all factors that influence and weaken the immune system.