Can a new location make you perpetually sick?

  1. Pythagorean

    Pythagorean 4,622
    Gold Member

    Ever since my family and I moved to a new country, I notice we've been getting sick a lot. It's not life-threatening and they're common bugs, they're not even bad enough to keep me home from work. Does this mean our like, virus definitions are updating, or something? Or are we just going to be sicker more often in this place than in our home. We're in a way more populated place now and I use public transportation and we have kids going on playdates.

    So obviously, I'm getting more exposure. I'm just curious if the immune system eventually adapts to new places like this or if people in some areas just deal with more occurrences of disease.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. being in a new place means being exposed to bacteria, germs and virii that you've never been exposed to and your immune system hasn't defended against. after a while, once your body has built up its immunity to the local germs, you'll probably find you're not getting sick as often.
     
  4. Evo

    Staff: Mentor

    Probably it's all of the things you mentioned, the more contact you have, the more exposed to contagion you become.
     
  5. Monique

    Monique 4,699
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Is the new country so different from the one you lived in?
     
  6. Pythagorean

    Pythagorean 4,622
    Gold Member

    More to do with the differences in city, not country: population, diversity, population density, and population turnover are all higher here.
     
  7. atyy

    atyy 10,624
    Science Advisor

  8. Pythagorean

    Pythagorean 4,622
    Gold Member

    nice find!
     
  9. lisab

    Staff: Mentor

    I know (anecdotally) new teachers have one hell of a time their first year. Constant sniffles and sore throat.
     
  10. atyy

    atyy 10,624
    Science Advisor

    Do you know it's bugs and not say, an allergy? Austin in Texas is famous for its allergies.
     
  11. Pythagorean

    Pythagorean 4,622
    Gold Member

    I think it's a bug because of the affect on digestive systems. Just a hunch, though. We're definitely in farm country and high pollen days aren't much fun for the wife, but they don't seem to bother me much.
     
  12. Bobbywhy

    Bobbywhy 1,908
    Gold Member

    I've lived and worked in twelve different countries in Europe, the Middle East, Eastern Asia, and South America. This is anecdotal commentary, and not scientific.

    It's common to get stomach/intestinal problems during the first few months in a new country. For instance, Peace Corps told us that it would happen to most volunteers when we arrived "in Country" and that it would gradually diminish. That was correct; all the volunteers in my group suffered the sh*** at first (which got nicknamed "Tehran Trots"), but after a few months and lots of Lomotil, most of us returned to normal. Many say "it's the water!" There seems to be different bacteria in the water at each location, and upon arrival our gut contains only whatever types we started with. I think these different bugs are incompatible, and once our digestive system re-acclimates itself, the problem goes away. This same process I've passed through many times when moving to a different country.
     
  13. Hi Pythagorean,

    Are you still getting sick quite often? If so, you might be reacting to local toxins in the air, water, foods, or hard goods. They can cause digestive system upset, and/or other symptoms. They can also make allergies worse, but of course so could exposure to a new type of pollen.
     
  14. Pythagorean

    Pythagorean 4,622
    Gold Member

    I think you an atyy were right about allergies. It was probably a combination of a bug once or twice but then allergies always. The pollen levels are high this time of year and I'm getting the symptoms. The worst one is the lethargy, ugh!
     
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