- Diseases, Disorders & Conditions
Signs and symptoms of a weak immune system
A poor immune system?
Research shows that vulnerability to the flu and other seasonal diseases is more often the consequence of a weak immune system, explaining why some people can have the flu almost constantly from early autumn up until late spring, while others are less often affected. Our bodies however send out signs when our immune system is weak and looking out for them can help us take better care of ourselves and prevent any nasty infections. Here are some of them:
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Common signs of a weak immune system
Excess weight is not only bad for the heart and other organs, it also leads to hormonal imbalances that can hinder the immune system's fight against infections. Being overweight can increase your chances of getting infected by new strands of flu as well, as a weak immune system will have a harder time adapting to fight against the new infection, lacking the antibodies to combat such new flu strands.
Constant dry nose
As unpleasant as it may sound, a running nose actually helps protect against flu viruses. The mucus in the nose attracts viruses which are then ejected out of the body along with it. Having a constantly dry nose will make you more susceptible to getting sick, but you can fight against that by using a humidifier or a saline solution.
Constantly getting the flu
Usually a grown adult should get the flu 1-3 times each season with each time lasting around 3-4 days. If you're getting sick more often than that, it is a clear sign that your immune system is weak. One solution to improve your immune system is through the intake of vitamins and minerals, more specifically vitamin C and A as well as zinc and selenium. Vitamin C is found in oranges, grapefruit, parsley or paprika and vitamin A is found in carrots, liver, fish or eggs. You can get your zinc intake from wholewheat bread and cereal as well as sea fruit. Selenium is commonly found in walnuts, bread, fish, meat and eggs.
You like eating a lot of sweets
Besides being overweight, too much sugar is also bad for your immune system. A study by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that 100 grams of sugar taken on a daily basis can hinder your white cells from fighting against infection for up to 5 hours after eating the high-sugar product.
Things you should avoid
Besides the above signs of a weak immune system, there are other lifestyle related factors that can contribute to the problem:
Being under constant stress
According to the American Psychological Association long term stress can weaken the immune system. It's no wonder you are more likely to get sick during a stressful period of work then! Stress can also aggravate symptoms if you already have the flu, so remember to relax and take it easy.
Not drinking enough water
The human body needs to be hydrated in order for it to eliminate toxins. While the right quantity of daily water needed can vary from person to person the most common sign that you are drinking enough liquids is a pale yellow urine color.