Back when I was a nurse in the ICU I was sick all the time. It was understandable; I worked long crazy hours and often overnights, I was exposed to sick people, and I ate and drank crap.
Fast forward 20 years. I work a desk job, I don’t work nights or weekends. I eat healthier stuff and pay attention to my sleep. I’m not exposed to sick people. I went several years with nary a cold or cough. Until August 2016. In early August I had an upper respiratory virus with hacks cough for 3 weeks. Then again in December I had the same stuff but it only lasted 2 weeks. Now again, I have the same crap. What is going on?
Well…possibly I can blame my menopausal/post menopausal state. According to merckmanuals.com the immune system is affected by age.
As people age, the immune system becomes less effective in the following ways:
The immune system becomes less able to distinguish self from nonself (that is, to identify foreign antigens). As a result, autoimmune disorders become more common.
Macrophages (which ingest bacteria and other foreign cells) destroy bacteria, cancer cells, and other antigens more slowly. This slowdown may be one reason that cancer is more common among older people.
T cells (which remember antigens they have previously encountered) respond less quickly to the antigens.
There are fewer white blood cells capable of responding to new antigens. Thus, when older people encounter a new antigen, the body is less able to remember and defend against it.
Older people have smaller amounts of complement proteins and do not produce as many of these proteins as younger people do in response to bacterial infections.
The amount of antibody produced in response to an antigen is less, and the antibodies are less able to attach to the antigen. These changes may partly explain why pneumonia, influenza, infectious endocarditis, and tetanus are more common among older people and result in death more often. These changes may also partly explain why vaccines are less effective in older people and thus why it is important for older people to get booster shots (which are available for some vaccines).
These changes in immune function may contribute to the greater susceptibility of older people to some infections and cancers.
The only problem with this is that there is not any reference to what “age” is “older”
I prefer to think of myself as middle aged, not “older” or “elderly” I am in fact in my early 50’s. So, why am I getting sick more often all of a sudden. That is the question of the day.
Well, I’m off to essential oil my body and research cold fighting tea recipes on Pinterest.