Why Some People Never Get Sick, According to the Experts

When the entire office is sniffling and laid low with a cold or the flu, it seems like there’s always that one person who doesn’t succumb to the bug. Is it because of a robust immune system, or just good luck?  Stephen Morse, MD, a professor of epidemiology at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, tells Today.com that often those individuals are “simply lucky.”

A person’s immune system is highly individual, and there’s little known about why some people never seem to get sick. Those with a weakened immune system who suffer from chronic conditions such as diabetes are certainly more susceptible to illness. But otherwise it’s a guessing game, although healthy behaviors such as working out regularly and eating right do boost the immune system. And individuals who manage stress well and get plenty of sleep seem better able to resist germs. Their behavior makes their bodies stronger and more able to fight off attackers.

Another reason may be our constant exposure to over 200 types of cold viruses and a build-up of the body’s immunity. The body can learn how to defend itself. That could be why pediatricians and moms are often the healthiest: They are exposed to all kinds of viruses by sick children, and having been exposed so regularly lets their immune system know when to jump into protection mode.

Not surprisingly, people with good social bonds are mentally healthier, but it’s interesting to note that they also get fewer colds if they’re more connected with positive relationships. University of Wisconsin Health Family Medicine physician Jon Temte, MD, is also the chair for the CDC advisory committee on Immunization Practices. Dr. Temte says that people with these types of positive relationships “don’t just report fewer colds, they actually have fewer colds.”