Do you sometimes struggle with illnesses that never quite seem to go away? You know those illnesses that you think you already treated only to start experiencing symptoms again, kind of like what happens with sexually active women who struggle with frequent episodes of bacterial or fungal infections such as bacterial vaginosis or yeast infections. These could be classified as recurrent infections, having cited the above example what do we then describe or define to be a recurring infection;
A recurring infection can be said to be any difficult-to-treat condition with a repetitive cycle of a compromised immune system leading to damage of the immune system and further weakening its resistance to viral infections.
So, if you have frequent, recurrent or severe infections like toilet infections, cold, flu or frequent malaria that do not respond to treatments, you should speak to your doctor. Early diagnosis and treatment of primary immune deficiencies can prevent infections that can cause long-term problems.
What causes these infections you may begin to wonder, well, recurrent infections just like autoimmune disorders are caused by a Primary Immunodeficiency Disorder which are basically genetic disorders that impair the immune system and without a functional immune response, people with this disorder may become more susceptible to chronic, debilitating infections.
A common sign of primary immunodeficiency is exposure to infections that are more frequent, longer lasting or harder to treat especially when compared to that of a person with a normal immune system. Basically, a person with primary immunodeficiency may also get infections that a person with a healthy immune system likely wouldn't.
Essentially, there not many known risk factors for carriers of primary immunodeficiency other than a family history which means that it could be genetically passed from parents to their children.
Signs And Symptoms Of Primary Immunodeficiency Can Include:
- Frequent and recurrent pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus infections, ear infections, meningitis or skin infections
- Inflammation and infection of internal organs
- Blood disorders, such as low platelet counts or anemia
- Digestive problems, such as cramping, loss of appetite, nausea and diarrhea
- Delayed growth and development
- Autoimmune disorders, such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis or type 1 diabetes
Types of Recurring Infections;
A recurring infection would fall under either of these categories of infections;
As the name implies this is an infection caused by exposure to a virus. Viruses can remain dormant in a person’s cells before they multiply leaving an infected person feeling temporarily fine till they decide to show up again in what can be termed a viral episode.
A bacterial infection is infection caused by bacteria which can be contagious. Examples of bacterial infections include; bacterial meningitis, pneumonia, tuberculosis, upper respiratory tract infection which can also be a viral infection, gastritis, eye infections, urinary tract infections (UTIs) skin infections etc.
Fungal infections occur when an invading fungus which may be too much for the immune system to handle infects a particular part of the body. When harmful fungi invade the body, they can be difficult to kill, as they can survive in the environment and re-infect the person even when it seems like they are getting better. Some examples of fungal infection include but are not limited to Candidiasis , athlete’s foot, ringworm etc.
Managing Recurring Infections Using lifestyle Habits
It is imperative to note that People with a weak immune system have a higher risk of experiencing frequent infections and severe symptoms, however, there are still ways to remedy this assertion by simply altering lifestyle habits which could be harming the immune system and we explore them below;
- Practice Good Hygiene: Wash your hands regularly as they pick up a great deal of infection causing germs within seconds and these germs can be transmitted to the food you eat and even other parts of your body.
- Eat Healthy: We can all agree a healthy, balanced diet keeps the doctors away. Eating right also includes your fruits and vegetables which are rich in nutrients and micronutrients great for optimal bodily function.
- Get Enough Sleep: Proper sleep is crucial to the immune system’s defense and performance. According to Dr Eric.J.Olson, studies have shown that a lack of sleep can affect your immune system and that people who do not get quality sleep are more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus, such as a common cold virus. Lack of sleep can also affect your recovery process when sick.
- Manage Stress: When the body is stressed, it produces excess amount of cortisol which then hampers the immune system’s ability to fight against infections.
- Avoid Exposure Or Direct Contact To The Flu: Stay away from people with colds or other infections lest you contact the flu as well, always practice social distancing!