Anyone managed to decrease their susceptibility to colds?

Health, Fitness, Insurance, ...
zbigi
Posts: 36
Joined: Fri Oct 30, 2020 2:04 pm

Anyone managed to decrease their susceptibility to colds?

Post by zbigi »

I've always gotten sick/cold quite easily. Any kind of prolonged exposure to mildly adverse weather (e.g. chill wind) has a high chance of making me sick for a couple of days - not seriously, but I'll feel worse for a couple of days, my throat will ache etc.
Has anyone managed to improve such situation? The things I already do are:
1. Getting properly dressed, esp. covering neck and head (esp. forehead) when it's colder outside.
2. Trying to not get sweaty when it's colder outside.
3. Not drinking cold drinks.

However, my observations are that my resistance to colds is still low, compared to my friends. I wonder if anyone here has done anything else to improve the situation. I'm asking because being able to be outside in all kinds of weather seems like important part of ERE and thus my sickliness is hampering my ERE development.

User avatar
Ego
Posts: 5245
Joined: Wed Nov 23, 2011 12:42 am

Re: Anyone managed to decrease their susceptibility to colds?

Post by Ego »

What kind of cold? Which symptoms?

theanimal
Posts: 1746
Joined: Fri Jan 25, 2013 10:05 pm
Location: AK
Contact:

Re: Anyone managed to decrease their susceptibility to colds?

Post by theanimal »

Being cold outside won't make you sick. However, it may make you more tired and weaken your immune system if you're too cold which will make you more susceptible to becoming sick from picking up bacteria elsewhere.

How is your sleep quality? Do you eat many processed foods/sugar? Do you exercise (If so, is it too much? Too little?)? Do you wash your hands?

Those are the major legs of the table. When all of those are near their highest level, your susceptibility to getting a cold is very low.

zbigi
Posts: 36
Joined: Fri Oct 30, 2020 2:04 pm

Re: Anyone managed to decrease their susceptibility to colds?

Post by zbigi »

@Ego I'd say the symptoms are rather typical:
1. Very low fever, or fever-like symptoms (feeling hot or cold for no reason etc.).
2. Low energy, difficulty to concentrate.
3. Throat inflammation - ache, redness.
4. Sometimes, if my initial "offense" was more severe (e.g. I left the gym after training without cooling off first on a chilly, windy day), it develops into full blown 10-14 days cold. In such case, all the symptoms get more intense + there's a running nose. This occurs maybe 2-3 times a year, mostly because I spend most of my time inside and take good care of myself when outside. When I was younger and more adventurous (and not yet beaten into submission by these colds I guess), it happened more frequently.
5. Fairly strong forehead aches (maybe in the sinuses?) - this one is only relevant when too much winds blows on my exposed forehead (e.g. if there's a bit of wind and I forget my headband). Interestingly, this specific issue started only 5 years ago or so (I'm forty now) and my mother told me that she had these around this age as well. Now she's 65 and they're gone, she doesn't wear head band at all...

In general, I've had these issues since I can remember. It was much worse when I was little - as a child I was sick for 4+ months per year on average, always with some sort of viral or bacterial respiratory infection. Since then, my health has gotten better and I pretty much never get pneumonia or bronchitis, but my upper respiratory tracts still get attacked regularly. I wonder if there's some way to help this.

zbigi
Posts: 36
Joined: Fri Oct 30, 2020 2:04 pm

Re: Anyone managed to decrease their susceptibility to colds?

Post by zbigi »

theanimal wrote:
Tue Apr 06, 2021 11:37 am
Being cold outside won't make you sick. However, it may make you more tired and weaken your immune system if you're too cold which will make you more susceptible to becoming sick from picking up bacteria elsewhere.
I've read that in plenty of places, but in my case the correlation between being exposed to adverse weather and later coming down with something is close to 100%. I can only assume that the cold virus is nearly ubiquitous and I'm constantly exposed to it, so the only thing between it and me getting sick is a constant solid immune response. Which, like you said, gets temporarily weakened by being exposed to cold weather, being tired etc.
How is your sleep quality? Do you eat many processed foods/sugar? Do you exercise (If so, is it too much? Too little?)? Do you wash your hands?

Those are the major legs of the table. When all of those are near their highest level, your susceptibility to getting a cold is very low.
I sleep a lot (9 hours on average) and tend to be well-rested after most nights. My exercise lately consists mostly of walks outside, around 5 km/pd on average according to my phone. My diet is relatively ok I guess, but unfortunately I eat sweets (not a lot) daily. I don't wash my hands too often, but I work from home and have little contact with other people.
Also, a friend of mine sleeps 5 hours per day, has similar diet, is not religious about washing hands either, doesn't exercise and still pretty much never gets colds (he isn't even zipping his jacket at 20 F outside, which for me would be a death sentence). So, there must be some other factor (or multiple factors) at play here. Surely, there must be a big genetic component, but I wonder if there's anything beside it. If for example trendy approaches like fasting or Wim Hoff method can help in this case.

Toska2
Posts: 370
Joined: Fri Nov 20, 2015 8:51 pm

Re: Anyone managed to decrease their susceptibility to colds?

Post by Toska2 »

I cut out all sweets. If I eat a candy bar I get a tickle in my throat and a slight fever within an hour. Not enough to be sick but know something is wrong.

I only get sick once or twice a year since. Usually its springtime when the day is 60°F and evening is 30°F.

User avatar
Alphaville
Posts: 3621
Joined: Thu Oct 03, 2019 10:50 am
Location: Quarantined

Re: Anyone managed to decrease their susceptibility to colds?

Post by Alphaville »

i rarely get colds. if/when im feeling symptoms i just take to bed and the next day i feel better. i might get a slight evening fever but nothing else.

i think people fall ill when then insist to keep going and pump themselves with symptom suppressors.

take the damn day off!

zbigi
Posts: 36
Joined: Fri Oct 30, 2020 2:04 pm

Re: Anyone managed to decrease their susceptibility to colds?

Post by zbigi »

Alphaville wrote:
Tue Apr 06, 2021 12:33 pm
i rarely get colds. if/when im feeling symptoms i just take to bed and the next day i feel better. i might get a slight evening fever but nothing else.
Yeah, I do that as well as a form of mitigation. Unfortunately, last couple of weeks I've been "mitigating" 2-3 times a week, after most longer walks really. This prompted my post, as I started doubting if I'm even ERE material.

To me, people who work outside all day regardless of weather (construction workers, farmers etc.) are superhuman - how do they pull it off without coming down with something all the time? Is it genetics or have they managed to build up some form of resistance? Or are they just suffering frequently, suppressing their fevers with pill etc.?

Gilberto de Piento
Posts: 1688
Joined: Tue Nov 12, 2013 10:23 pm

Re: Anyone managed to decrease their susceptibility to colds?

Post by Gilberto de Piento »

Stay away from people, wear a mask when you have to get near people, don't touch your face, wash your hands. Aren't colds / flus at record lows due to covid precautions? Seems like that tells you what works, though maybe you are a unique case.

User avatar
Alphaville
Posts: 3621
Joined: Thu Oct 03, 2019 10:50 am
Location: Quarantined

Re: Anyone managed to decrease their susceptibility to colds?

Post by Alphaville »

zbigi wrote:
Tue Apr 06, 2021 12:54 pm
Yeah, I do that as well as a form of mitigation. Unfortunately, last couple of weeks I've been "mitigating" 2-3 times a week, after most longer walks really. This prompted my post, as I started doubting if I'm even ERE material.

To me, people who work outside all day regardless of weather (construction workers, farmers etc.) are superhuman - how do they pull it off without coming down with something all the time? Is it genetics or have they managed to build up some form of resistance? Or are they just suffering frequently, suppressing their fevers with pill etc.?
wow, i'll do that once a year or something. thrice weekly is worrisome.

not to spook you, but have you checked for covid?

people who work outside tend to have stronger immune systems, yeah. plus not being cooped up in an office gives them better air actually. so more filth + better air = less flu.

otoh laborers past a certain age might have more muscle and joint aches and resort to painkillers...

white belt
Posts: 722
Joined: Sat May 21, 2011 12:15 am

Re: Anyone managed to decrease their susceptibility to colds?

Post by white belt »

@Zbigi

Have you been tested for underlying health conditions? Allergies? To me, it sounds like you might have something else going on that is manifesting as these “colds”.

In terms of diet, you can also get bloodwork done to test if you are deficient in any micronutrients. Nutrient deficiencies can weaken immune systems.

I suspect there is a genetic component and also perhaps a psychological component. Either way, the experiences you are describing are highly unusual for a typical person. Especially if you are eating an adequate diet, getting adequate sleep, and managing stress.

zbigi
Posts: 36
Joined: Fri Oct 30, 2020 2:04 pm

Re: Anyone managed to decrease their susceptibility to colds?

Post by zbigi »

white belt wrote:
Tue Apr 06, 2021 1:07 pm
@Zbigi

Have you been tested for underlying health conditions? Allergies? To me, it sounds like you might have something else going on that is manifesting as these “colds”.

In terms of diet, you can also get bloodwork done to test if you are deficient in any micronutrients. Nutrient deficiencies can weaken immune systems.

I suspect there is a genetic component and also perhaps a psychological component. Either way, the experiences you are describing are highly unusual for a typical person. Especially if you are eating an adequate diet, getting adequate sleep, and managing stress.
I do have an weak allergy to dust and mites - I think it was a "two" on the 0-8 scale. Dunno if it's a factor. Unfortunately, dust and mites are two things which are impossible to get rid of unless you live in an Intel fab, so there isn't much I can do about allergy angle anyway.

As for diet and stress, those two fronts I could do better on. After 15+ years of working, I'm planning on quitting paid employment for good very soon (May or June), so will have plenty of opportunities to focus on fixing those. Perhaps my health will get better.

I don't really think it's covid BTW, since this year is the same as previous ones. I.e. whenever the weather gets treacherous (mostly on the break of autumn and winter and also winter and spring), these colds start attacking me a lot.

I also tend to have low energy overall (no idea why - perhaps years of working stressful jobs have taken their toll?). This might be the underlying cause for the colds - if my body is too tired to fight viruses and regenerate itself, they have an easy time overwhelming it. I will try to try out various approaches to improve my overall health after I retire, with the hope that it'll improve both energy levels and immune system. I was just fishing for that "one weird trick" that has already worked for someone.

User avatar
Alphaville
Posts: 3621
Joined: Thu Oct 03, 2019 10:50 am
Location: Quarantined

Re: Anyone managed to decrease their susceptibility to colds?

Post by Alphaville »

@zbigi

it might be that you're exercising too hard too soon for what you're accustomed, which impacts your immune system?

i'd recommend ensuring sufficient protein intake plus building up more gradually towards those long walks.... maybe all you're experiencing is not disease, but recovery?

zbigi
Posts: 36
Joined: Fri Oct 30, 2020 2:04 pm

Re: Anyone managed to decrease their susceptibility to colds?

Post by zbigi »

@Alphaville
I don't think that's it, I've been walking a lot for years and I'm accustomed to it. For example, my July and August daily averages (according to phone) were around 9.5 km and yet I wasn't sick once then. But whenever the weather gets worse, the colds arrive.
I've read somewhere that, when part of the body is cold, the blood vessels constrict in the cold area and thus less leukocytes are able reach it, allowing the pathogens to grow there. Hence sore throat after drinking very cold coke on a hot day etc. This would explain my colds fully (I see complete correlation between being exposed to low temperatures and getting sick), but doesn't really help beyond the obvious - dress adequately for weather etc.

Miss Lonelyhearts
Posts: 162
Joined: Tue Oct 08, 2013 12:53 am

Re: Anyone managed to decrease their susceptibility to colds?

Post by Miss Lonelyhearts »

To the thread’s general question, I think theanimal has it right. No big secrets there. I second white belt’s advice, and add that you’ll do best with a physician you trust, with whom you can share what you’ve shared here, and whose response you can listen to with an open mind.

And you’re here — so of course you’re ERE material!

IlliniDave
Posts: 3339
Joined: Wed Apr 02, 2014 7:46 pm

Re: Anyone managed to decrease their susceptibility to colds?

Post by IlliniDave »

Cutting back on alcohol, staying out of bars/restaurants, Eating Mr Creosote volumes of non-starchy vegetables, limited grains, almost no sugar, getting exposure to sun is my recipe. From most important to least important I believe. I get about one short bout of the crud every 3-5 years, down from multiple times annually.

User avatar
Alphaville
Posts: 3621
Joined: Thu Oct 03, 2019 10:50 am
Location: Quarantined

Re: Anyone managed to decrease their susceptibility to colds?

Post by Alphaville »

zbigi wrote:
Tue Apr 06, 2021 1:56 pm
@Alphaville
I don't think that's it, I've been walking a lot for years and I'm accustomed to it. For example, my July and August daily averages (according to phone) were around 9.5 km and yet I wasn't sick once then. But whenever the weather gets worse, the colds arrive.
I've read somewhere that, when part of the body is cold, the blood vessels constrict in the cold area and thus less leukocytes are able reach it, allowing the pathogens to grow there. Hence sore throat after drinking very cold coke on a hot day etc. This would explain my colds fully (I see complete correlation between being exposed to low temperatures and getting sick), but doesn't really help beyond the obvious - dress adequately for weather etc.
yeah ive also read about lower interferon production in colder tissue

but if you already do the obvious--i'm stumped. i'd go see a doctor. maybe an allergist if you strongly suspect allergies. they can be a nightmare for some people and yes, they can develop in middle age.

Green Pimble
Posts: 45
Joined: Thu Jan 14, 2021 8:16 pm

Re: Anyone managed to decrease their susceptibility to colds?

Post by Green Pimble »

I do wonder if you have a seasonal allergy to something? Frequent symptoms of runny nose, itchy throat, tired, etc. sound like a typical atopic reaction. Plus you mentioned you had respiratory issues as a child which could well have been seasonal asthma, adding to the picture of atopy. Do you ever get rashes or dermatitis too?

If I were you, I would:
1. ensure proper sleep.
2. eat as healthy a diet as possible. I wouldn't worry about blood tests for micronutrient deficiency, but instead just buy a large bottle of reputable multivitamins and take them. You won't do yourself any harm and it's probably cheaper than getting blood tests.
3. trial taking regular antihistamines in the seasons you've identified as troublesome.
4. discuss with your doctor regarding underlying health issues (for example, perhaps you have an immunosuppressive condition you are unaware of; I consider this unlikely given you've had these symptoms for years).

I'll echo what others have said here: being cold does not make you sick outside of hypothermia.

Cats_and_tats
Posts: 29
Joined: Wed Feb 13, 2019 12:01 pm

Re: Anyone managed to decrease their susceptibility to colds?

Post by Cats_and_tats »

It sounds like mild ME/CFS, which can be triggered by actual physical cold. Many of the things in the posts you made in this thread sound like it, so I would take a look at that. One way to think about your 'colds' - does anyone else catch them from you? If the cold just stays with you, then it probably isn't cold germs making you sick, but something that is mimicing a cold. Good luck.

zbigi
Posts: 36
Joined: Fri Oct 30, 2020 2:04 pm

Re: Anyone managed to decrease their susceptibility to colds?

Post by zbigi »

Cats_and_tats wrote:
Tue Apr 06, 2021 3:58 pm
It sounds like mild ME/CFS, which can be triggered by actual physical cold. Many of the things in the posts you made in this thread sound like it, so I would take a look at that. One way to think about your 'colds' - does anyone else catch them from you? If the cold just stays with you, then it probably isn't cold germs making you sick, but something that is mimicing a cold. Good luck.
Thanks. It IS interesting - indeed I'm not aware of anyone getting the colds from me.

The CFS lead might be be something to look into. I've often looked at some people around me and wondered if they're from another planet energy-level wise. I'm habituated to my energy levels so they seem normal to me, while theirs seem sky-high - and actually theirs might be closer to norm, and mine low... Hard to be certain of anything in this area.
Luckily in XXI century office work "you have to work smart and not hard" (i.e. you can get away with 10 hours of work per week if you're good at what you do), so people like me can function and even thrive. But, I can't imagine doing demanding physical work outside for prolonged periods of time... [1] Perhaps I'll try it as a life experiment once i FIRE to see how it goes. I'm just worried that doing ERE properly is actually more demanding than my current office job :lol: and hence I can be maladjusted for it.

[1] Some people are clearly not built for this even without CFS or other obvious illness. For example, the French philosopher Simone Weil went to work in a car factory on the basis of principle (she wanted to suffer the same way as the workers did) and couldn't last more than a couple of months on the assembly line without being hospitalized.

Post Reply