Recurrent Infections: What’s Happening And Why?
One infection anywhere on your body is bad.
It’s painful. It’s uncomfortable. There’s usually swelling to deal with, which seems to make everything worse rather than protecting the area. You might even have flu-like symptoms or a fever. It’s a bad time.
Eventually, it lifts, and for awhile you’re so delighted that you delight in the return to even the most basic of human functions. You feel better! Whatever area was hurting no longer is! The problem might have cleared up on its own or it may have required the intervention of antibiotics, but all you care about is that it’s gone.
Until it isn’t. And then it isn’t again, and again, and again…
Recurrent infections are a real problem for thousands of people. It might be the reoccurrence of a particular infection – ear infections and UTIs have a tendency to crop up time and time again. Or it might just be different infections, but you seem to be prone to catching them alarmingly often.
So what’s going on? And what do you do about it?
The Likely Suspect…
The most common reason that infections return is that the infection was never really gone, just beaten back for awhile. This can happen for a few reasons. You might have stopped treating the problem because you thought it was fixed; this is the main reason people tend not to finish the course of antibiotics. Or it might be plain bad luck.
There are complications if you have repeat infections in the same area. This may require specialist help to determine the cause and deal with subsequent problems as a result of repeat infections. For example, repeat UTIs can lead to kidney infections which are potentially fatal, so you should see a urologist if you have more than three infections in 12 months. Repeat ear infections can eventually lead to hearing loss, the first sign of which should be a signal to see your audiologist to investigate the severity. You should also see an ENT, which would be beneficial also if your throat is continually infected and so on and so forth through the relevant specialties for the body area in question.
If you are prescribed a course of action or medication, then ensure you follow the advice given you to the letter.
Repeat Infections In Different Areas Have Different Causes
If you are prone to infections anywhere on your body, then it’s usually a sign of a compromised immune system. That might mean your immune system is weakened, which is often caused by stress and other lifestyle factors. Or it could be a sign of an immunodeficiency disorders or autoimmune conditions.
There are things you can do to help your immune system stay at its best, the primary of which is reducing stress. The stress hormone cortisol has been linked with damaging immune function over time, so a little more R&R time might be in order.
If you suspect there is something more going on, then it’s worth taking to a doctor and potentially running some blood tests. This could give you answers once and for all, rather than going through the misery of repeat infections time and again.