We are approaching a beautiful time of year in Salt Lake Valley and Utah. However, winter time is also a time when it can seem like you just can’t stay healthy.
So, what is a normal number of infections during the year?
Because children have a maturing immune system, they are often sick more frequently than adults. For children, it is normal to have between 6 and 8 upper respiratory infections a year. That number can be even higher if certain risk factors are present, such as smoking, poor air quality and being in daycare.
For adults, there is no absolute number, but having 3 or more infections that last more than 4 weeks is cause for concern.
Why do some people get infections more than others?
Some people are prone to recurrent infections. The most common underlying reason for someone to have recurrent infections is atopy, or a tendency to develop allergic diseases. People with allergic diseases, such as asthma, allergic rhinitis or eczema, have abnormal inflammation that can make it easier for pathogens to invade the body and inflammation caused by infections can persist due to allergic conditions.
Other causes of recurrent infections include anatomic defects, diseases such as diabetes, liver disease, kidney disease or HIV, and primary immunodeficiencies, or problems with the immune system itself.
When is it time to seek help?
Some signs of a problem with the immune system include:
If you have had more than one pneumonia or any of the above concerning history, it might be time to get an immune system evaluation. A breathing test also might be necessary to evaluate for undiagnosed asthma.
What can I do to help my immune system function optimally?
It may seem basic, but helping our immune system stave off and fight infections comes down to the basics, self-care. Things such as getting a good night sleep, having a well-balanced diet rich in needed nutrients, exercising and staying active all help to keep our immune system at its best, along with taking precautions such as frequent hand washing and wearing a mask when ill.
If you have any concern that you are getting sick more often than expected, please schedule a consult with one of our specialists at Allergy Associates of Utah. Allergy Associates of Utah is an allergy, asthma, and immunology specialty clinic serving the greater Salt Lake City, Utah area with 2 convenient locations in Murray and West Jordan. Led by specialists Andrew Smith, MD, MS, and Tara Sarin, MD, the practice strives to help people of all ages and background achieve success. Request an appointment by phone or online at either Allergy Associates of Utah location for expert allergy and immunology care today.