By Janis Graham
'Tis the season...for colds, flu, stomach bugs, and all those other ills that spread when people come together — whether by choice (at holiday parties) or circumstance (on airplanes). But don't start calculating your sick days just yet. This year you can do more than wash your hands and cross your fingers. Recent research, some of it sparked by the scary H1N1 influenza pandemic of 2009, has uncovered new steps you can take to protect yourself and your family. Most...
Once we endure the sniffles, coughs, and flu bugs of childhood and adolescence, most of us can expect to be "under the weather" a lot less as adults.
"If you’re an adult, you’ve probably had most of the childhood diseases already and have an acquired immunity, so your resistance is a little higher," says Russell Robertson, MD, chair of family medicine at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. "So if you’ve been properly immunized, and you take good care of yourself, you have every reason to expect that you will not get sick as often as you did when you were younger."
That doesn’t mean that once you hit 25 or 30, you’ll never get sick again. Dozens of different viruses can cause colds and flu, so you are likely to get a cold now and then. Watch out for the many other illnesses that aren’t related to infections, too.
"But if you’re eating right, exercising, and keeping an eye on family history and risk factors that might predispose you to illness, you should expect a very healthy middle age," says Robertson.