Are you prone to catching any cold or flu within a 5-mile radius? I joke, but for many folks influenza season is wrought with coughs, sore throats, and sniffles that last one through the next, all the way through late fall to late winter. A large body of health professionals regard the following eight signs as indications of individual flu vulnerability.
Here are eight indications that your immune system isn’t as strong as you might think…
1. You’re Constantly Sick
Numerous experts say that the most obvious sign of low immunity is if you’re continually coming down with something. Consider that the average North American adult is stricken with 2 to 4 colds while children contract an average of 6 to 8 bouts of illness during cold and flu season (late fall to late winter), if you’re sick more often, it’s a good sign that your immune system’s germ-fighting powers are low.
2. Poor Quality Drinking Water
Drinking water from the tap, like 25-million other Americans, is common practice. However, scientists from the Dartmouth Medical School caution against assuming your drinking water is clean and chemical free. For instance, researchers found that water from the average U.S. city well contains arsenic, and although levels have to be deemed safe by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the chemical element is believed to weaken immune response to the H1N1 virus and other strains of influenza.
3. You’re Constantly Stressed Out
If you get no downtime between work, family, and social obligations, the American Psychological Association warns that long-term stress will compromise your immune health. This is why you often get sick following a big work project or school exam. And if you’re already sick, chronic stress can exacerbate symptoms of an existing cold or flu, causing the virus to linger for much longer.
4. You Crave Sugar
Not only does a weakness for the sweet stuff risk your oral health and your waistline, research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that if you give into those temptations for candy, soda, baked goods, and other refined sugary snacks—your immunity is likely low because sugar weakens white blood cell (germ killing) response. This means if you consume more than 100-grams (roughly the equivalent of 3 cans of soda) per day, your immune system is likely unable to fight off flu germs and bacteria.
5. Dry Nasal Passages
You might dread a drippy, stuffy nose. However, when nasal cavities are moist, and even runny, it’s a sign that the body is fighting off the flu. You can think of mucous is a one-way ticket out of the body if you’re a nasty germ or virus. On the other hand, if your nose is dry as a bone, germs linger and colds and flus can become more frequent. To moisten nasal airways overnight, use a humidifier in your bedroom.
6. You’re Carrying Around Extra Pounds
Those extra pounds weigh down your body—including your brain, your heart, your joints, and even your immune response. If you’re obese, a chainlike metabolic reaction in your body occurs, comprising your hormonal balance and nutrient absorption, causing chronic inflammation, and leaving you prone to all sorts of germs and infections. In fact, 2009 study published in the National Institutes of Health, concluded that metabolic abnormalities linked to obesity led to increased risk of contracting the pandemic influenza A (H1N1) virus.
7. You Have Zero Energy
Sure, it’s normal to feel tired in autumn as the body adjusts to the new season. However, after a few weeks, if you still feel lethargic and all you want to do is sleep, you’re immunity likely needs a boost. Reset your immune system with a healthy diet, regular exercise, and 8-hours of sleep per night.
8. You’re Dehydrated
Have you ever wondered why drinking plenty of fluids (i.e., herbal teas and water) is prescribed by your doctor when you’re battling the flu? The body uses fluids as a means to detoxify and eradicate germs and other toxins. So take a boo at your urine—if it’s dark yellow, you need to drink more water and herbal tea to strengthen your germ-fighting superpowers.