The trouble with recovering from most illnesses is that we begin to treat the illness too late. Although you cannot expect your body to announce the arrival of a virus, recognizing the signs of falling sick can help treat it earlier. For example, if you can't stop sneezing and can feel the onset of the flu, getting some extra sleep may make you feel better. Here are a few signs that can predict an illness
- Reduced appetite - A slight decrease in appetite during the summer is normal but if the sight of food makes you nauseous or you stop enjoying your food, it may be a sign of an oncoming illness. These illnesses could range from a simple cold to gastroenteritis or strep throat. A diminishing diet can be a result of the production of cytokines by the body as part of its inflammatory response to infections. Lesser food takes lesser time to digest thereby using lesser calories and diverting energy towards fighting the infection.
- Swollen neck glands - Feel your neck glands, just below the jawbone to check for infections. Swollen neck glands are the body's way of letting you know that you may be falling ill. These are usually a sign of ear infections, cold, dental problems or skin infections. Neck glands are storehouses for white blood cells. When these are activated into fighting infections, the collection of dead cells, bacteria etc result in swollen neck glands.
- Fatigue - There's a difference between being tired at the end of a long day and being exhausted throughout the day. The latter is a way your body is telling you to slow down and conserve energy to fight an oncoming illness.
- Muscle aches - Aching muscles can also be a sign of the oncoming flu. One of the main reasons for this is the body's production of antibodies that release histamines and cytokines in the bloodstream. When these travel to various muscles, they can trigger pain receptors leading to body aches.
- Low fever - The ideal body temperature is 98.7 degrees. If you have a higher temperature that persists for a few days, you may be coming down with an infection. Fever is your body's way of fighting infection by raising its internal temperature. A low fever is a sign of colds, allergies, and even stomach infections.
There is a fine line between being a hypochondriac and recognizing signs of falling sick. To differentiate between the two, pay attention to the type, duration, and intensity of symptoms. If you feel like you're on the verge of falling sick, rest your body and take some multivitamins. If you experience a sudden or severe change in symptoms, consult a doctor immediately.