June 25, 2024

Holistic Pulse

Healthcare is more important

Causes and What To Do

4 min read

Genetics, high stress levels, and your environment may explain why you get sick so often. Even if you’re generally healthy, it’s always possible to get sick. How often you get sick as a healthy person depends on how your body functions.

You have different types of immunity, which affect your likelihood of getting sick. Learn how several factors, including lifestyle choices, environment, genetics, and age, affect your immune system.

Your immune system protects you from illnesses and helps fight germs when you get sick. Different types of immunity may affect your likelihood of getting sick.

Your active immunity, for example, builds up when you come into contact with germs. Your immune system responds by creating antibodies that protect you from these germs in the future. You can also build your active immunity through vaccination. 

Passive immunity occurs when antibodies outside the body become part of the immune system. Several factors help develop the immune system during infancy, childhood, and in utero. A fetus receives antibodies, for instance, through the placenta during pregnancy.

You also have innate immunity, or the immunity you are born with. Innate immunity includes any aspect of your body’s defense against germs, such as cough reflexes, mucus, and stomach acid.

Several lifestyle factors can weaken your immune system and lead to frequent infections. These include stress, obesity, alcohol use, and your environment.


Stress is your body and brain’s ability to respond to challenges or demands. Your body releases a hormone called cortisol during stressful times. Short-term stress is generally less harmful to your health than chronic stress. High cortisol levels may protect your immune system by reducing inflammation in the body.

Being stressed for long periods can adversely affect your immune system. Your body adapts as cortisol levels stay high, increasing inflammation. Stress also reduces immune cells, or lymphocytes. You might be sick often without enough lymphocytes ready to fight illnesses. 


Obesity can play a part in a weak immune system. People with obesity are more likely to be sick with COVID-19 and have severe symptoms than others.

Obesity is also a risk factor for heart disease. People with obesity might have related conditions, such as high blood pressure or coronary artery disease (CAD). These underlying health conditions further weaken the immune system.

Obesity increases inflammation and cytokine levels. Cytokines are proteins that help fight infections. Excess cytokines can be harmful because they may weaken the immune system and worsen symptoms.

Alcohol Use

The occasional alcoholic drink may not cause many issues for your immune system. Engaging in frequent or chronic heavy drinking, in contrast, can reduce the efficiency of your immune system.

Alcohol use disorder (AUD) has been linked to reduced immune cell frequency. You may be sick often without enough immune cells ready to fight infections.


Air pollution can harm the immune and cardiovascular systems at a young age. Environmental factors, such as pollutants and toxins, may weaken your immune system over time, even during childhood.

Air pollution can trigger the immune system to react unnecessarily, such as in asthma. Your environment may interfere with an immune response, as seen in the dysregulation of anti-viral responses.

Other aspects may affect how often you get sick, in addition to a lifestyle that may negatively impact your immune system. Several factors determine your immunity, such as:

  • Age: Older adults tend to have weaker immunity than younger adults. Your immune system wanes around age 60, opening the door for germs to more easily or severely affect you.
  • Exposure: The hygiene hypothesis may explain why some people are more susceptible to illness. The idea is that the more bacteria and viruses you encounter as a child, the “stronger” your immune system becomes.
  • Genetics: Your genetics can determine your innate immunity. Weak innate immunity wanes your active immunity and increases your risk of infections.
  • Season: The time of the year may also affect how easily you get sick. You may get sick with the flu or a cold during winter. Cold weather helps viruses spread easily. You may be huddled indoors, close to others, during that time. Close proximity also increases the risk of viruses spreading.

You cannot entirely boost your immunity. Certain healthy habits can still protect you from illnesses, such as:

  • Eat a healthy diet: Nutrients from fruits and vegetables, like zinc, iron, vitamin C, and omega-3 fatty acids, are essential for a healthy immune system. Omega-3s in fatty fish, for example, help produce immune cells.
  • Exercise regularly: Physical activity improves circulation, which helps produce antibodies. Exercise also reduces stress, which helps your immune system function.
  • Get enough sleep: Your body releases cytokines while you sleep. A lack of sleep can reduce cytokine levels, increasing your risk of illnesses.
  • Limit your alcohol intake: Moderate alcohol consumption is one drink daily for females and two for males.
  • Manage your weight: Obesity may affect your immunity. Maintaining a healthy body weight may strengthen your immune system. Obesity also raises the risk of chronic illnesses, such as diabetes and heart disease, which weaken immunity. 
  • Reduce stress levels: Try stress-relieving activities to lower your cortisol levels. Deep breathing, meditation, and listening to calm music may help control stress.
  • Quit smoking: Smoking may raise the risk of respiratory complications if you get sick.

Keep in mind that if you seem to get sick often, you are not necessarily unhealthy. You may instead be more susceptible to illnesses than others.

Some people are simply more susceptible to getting sick than others. Lifestyle choices, environment, genetics, and age play key roles in determining immunity. Fostering healthy habits might help protect you against infections, even if you cannot entirely control your immune system.


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