Why Do I Keep Getting Sick?

I get asked this question a lot. People who come in to my practise; they sometimes claim “I get sick over and over. Just as soon as I get over one illness, I’m moving right into the next one. I always nurse a congestion, stuffy nose, head pressure – allergies?. I just don’t understand why. My immune system just can’t seem to kick it.”

The first place my mind goes is, allergies.

What could it possibly be?

There might be a lot of different reasons of why that happens, but indeed one of the more common reasons I see is actually allergies. When your body creates an allergy, it creates that clear fluid. If you’ve ever had hay fever before, you could relate to the runny nose and the watery eyes, it’s all that clear fluid that an allergy would create. Unfortunately, when that fluid gets created in your nose, your throat, your chest, it becomes an optimal breeding ground for any kind of virus or bacteria that you would get exposed to. 

Are Allergies the Reason I’m Sick all the Time?
Treating Allergy Season.

If you treat the underlying allergy reason, a lot of these upper respiratory infections will stop.

When you get chronic bronchitis, especially if you’re not a smoker, it’s very possible that allergy is really that underlying trigger. – Tweet this

If you can stop the allergy, you’ll ultimately give these bacteria and viruses no place to grow, even if you do get exposed to them.

* Let me assure you, your body has the innate capacity to heal.

We need to have that fluid to provide the right nutrients and environment that those viruses and bacteria can really thrive and then start to cause infection. If you can dry that cavity up, even if you get exposure, you’re just not as likely to get the ill effects of having been exposed to the virus and bacteria.

Diagnosing the Symptoms

If you want to really know if you have allergies, I recommend seeing your practitioner.

There’s a lot of different ways that you can test and find out if you’re allergic to anything. Allergy in this country has a pretty narrow definition. These are the reactions that happen quickly after exposure. So, if you’re allergic to a dog or cat, you start to get itchy eyes and you sneeze. If you’re allergic to pollen, watery eyes, sneezing, scratchy throat. These reactions happen often within minutes of exposure.

Whereas in Europe the definition of allergy is a little bit broader. It talks about a lot of these reactions that aren’t just the immediate reactions. In the United States most allergists really look at the things that happen quickly. In other parts of the world they look at things that might be delayed reactions. If it’s an environmental allergy it will probably correspond with different times of year.

For the people who are allergic to pollen, when the Spring rolls around, they notice their symptoms come on. If you’re someone who’s highly allergic to mold, usually the fall or whenever it’s rainy and damp, that tends to be a worst time of year. If it doesn’t change with the season, it’s less likely it’s related to mold or pollen. It could be related to dust because dust is everywhere, or it could be related to something that you’re eating.

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Exposure and Treatment for Allergies

Food allergies are typically anaphylactic where you get hives, you can’t breathe, your face swells. People who have those kind of reactions usually find out the hard way. Whereas if you’ve got a delayed reaction to food, that could be much harder to pick up.

Allergies are really the cumulative effect of everything you're exposed to.
Exposed to Allergies.

A good functional medicine doctor, environmental medicine doctor, or naturopathic doctor can help you sort out if you’re having any kind of delayed reaction to food.

Allergies are really the cumulative effect of everything you’re exposed to. – Tweet this!

It could be food, mold, pollen and so forth. Sometimes you have to look at the broad scope of everything in your environment to find out what’s actually provoking you and making you feel worse. But by identifying that, if it’s something you can avoid, great, avoid it. If you can’t avoid it, there are ways to treat it. We use things called immunotherapy and there’s different ways of doing it, but the concept is a little bit like allergy shots where we’re trying to desensitize you against the thing that’s triggering you and in doing that over time, we can build your immune tolerance so that these things don’t bother you anymore and you stop getting all that clear fluid.

Addressing the Issue of Allergies

If you’re getting sick over and over, I think the number one thing (I find in my practice) is this underlying allergy that’s never really been identified and addressed. Until you address that, there’s a lot of treatments that tend to be very symptomatic. You can stop the fluid from building up, but again, that’s really a superficial treatment. It’s not really getting to the root cause and since we are really interested in getting to the root of your problem, this is a way to start taking that step and addressing that.

Definitely check with your functional medicine or naturopathic doctor to help identify what these allergy symptoms are. That’ll start you on the road to stop getting sick and achieve better health.

Are Allergies the Reason I’m Sick all the Time?

Darin Ingels, ND, FAAEM, FMAPS

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