(I am a layman, forgive any misconceptions)

A friend recently got a cold; she had a sniffle, a sick feeling and it was barely more than an annoyance. A week later I get - presumably - the same cold; I get temperature and lethargy, plus the usual cold features such as sore throat, and spend a few days in bed.

To illustrate the point further: most times I get a cold I feel terrible; have a fever, lethargy etc. I will spend various days in bed hoping for it to go away.

My friend on the other hand doesn't even understand what a fever feels like. For her, colds just make her 'sneeze more'.

Who is said to have the stronger immune system?

Is it that her immune system is 'strong' enough to fight off all viruses easily without breaking a sweat? Or does it imply her immune response is weaker, producing less symptoms than mine?

Or is saying that one of us has a 'stronger' immune system a gross oversimplification?


1 Answer 1


A person is said to have a weak immune system when he/she gets infected very frequently. Such individuals tend to get more tired than others, their wounds heal way slower than others.

You may want to read more about weak immune systems here.

Different symptoms or duration of infection don't decide the immunity status of any individual.

Every human body has its own way to deal with pathogens. A body that has previously encountered a certain pathogen will behave differently to the body that is encountering the same pathogen for the first time. This usually happens because the antibodies pool differs from person to person.

Another reason can be the type of pathogen variant. The seasonal cold which seems the same for two people might be actually different. This happens because pathogens (bacteria, viruses) mutate themselves over generations. The strain might vary between two individuals.

Another reason can be the lifestyle also. A person who workouts frequently may show different symptoms of any infection when compared to a person who has a sedentary lifestyle. The more you exercise the stronger your immune system gets.


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