It’s flu season again, and it seems like all your child’s classmates are suffering from the sniffles and coughing fits. Meanwhile, your child keeps catching these illnesses over and over again, and there doesn’t seem to be anything you can do about it! But there are things you can do to help boost your child’s immunity to illness, so you don’t have to go through this every year—and neither does your child. Boosting immunity doesn’t take special supplements or fancy equipment.
What is immunity?
The immune system is a network of cells, tissues, and organs that work together to protect the body from infection. The first line of defense against invading pathogens is physical barriers like skin and mucous membranes, which prevent microbes from entering the body. If these barriers are breached, the immune system kicks into gear to fight off the infection. White blood cells called lymphocytes circulate throughout the body looking for invaders. When they find an invader, they produce antibodies (a type of protein) specific to that invader in order to destroy it.
When should kids start taking antibiotics?
Although antibiotics are designed to kill bacteria, they can’t discriminate between the good and bad bacteria in our bodies. This can lead to serious side effects, like diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. What’s more, overusing antibiotics can lead to antibiotic resistance, which is when bacteria evolve and become resistant to the drugs designed to kill them. So when should kids start taking antibiotics? If a child has a fever higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit, if they have difficulty breathing or if they have a rash that persists for more than two days, it may be time to call the doctor.
It is usually the last resort that doctors prefer to prescribe an antibiotic for kids, so as a parent, you should also ask your doctor if an antibiotic is necessary. Antibiotic dependence soon makes the child resistant to these medicines, and simple infections begin to take longer to heal.
So then, how can we improve our child’s immunity, therefore preventing them from catching those nasty viruses and bugs? There are a few things you can do at home and in your daily routine to keep your little one’s immune system strong.
7 ways to boost your child’s immunity
- Breastfeed your infant as far as possible
Breastfeeding your baby can help boost their immunity. Breast milk contains antibodies that fight against infection and disease. In fact, studies have shown that babies who are breastfed are less likely to get sick than those who are not. Additionally, breastfeeding can also help improve your child’s overall health. For example, it has been linked to lower rates of obesity and type 2 diabetes.
- Pile up on Fruits and Vegetables
A diet rich in fruits and vegetables can help boost your child’s immunity to the common cold, cough and fever. Fruits and vegetables are packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that can help keep your child healthy. Try incorporating a variety of fruits and vegetables into your child’s diet, such as oranges, strawberries, broccoli and spinach.
- Stay away from second-hand smoke
Second-hand smoke is one of the most common causes of flu and other respiratory infections in children. It’s also a leading cause of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). If you or someone in your home smokes, ask them to smoke outside. This will help reduce your child’s exposure to second-hand smoke and improve their immunity.
- Follow the prescribed vaccination schedule
Vaccinations are one of the most important things you can do to help protect your child from serious diseases. They work by protecting your child to a weakened form of a virus or bacteria, which helps them build immunity. Make sure you follow the recommended vaccination schedule for your child’s age.
- Ensure your child gets sufficient sleep
A good night’s sleep is crucial for overall health and well-being, and that includes boosting immunity. When children don’t get enough sleep, they’re more susceptible to catching colds and other illnesses. So make sure your child is getting at least 10 hours of sleep every night.
- Help your child overcome any stress-related issues
It’s no secret that stress can take a toll on our health. When our bodies are in a constant state of fight-or-flight, it suppresses the immune system. So, if your child is dealing with stress, it’s essential to help them find ways to cope. That could be spending time outside and getting plenty of exercise, or talking through their feelings. We all need some support when things get tough!
- Get enough exercise
Picking up from the previous point, we all know that exercise is good for our health, but did you know that it can also help boost your immunity? When you exercise, your body releases endorphins, which have been shown to improve mood and protect against stress. Plus, regular exercise can help increase the production of infection-fighting cells in your body. So make sure your child is getting enough exercise to help boost their immunity.
When your child suffers a sickness, it is so difficult to see them suffering. Following these simple practices can help build your child’s natural immunity, reducing their susceptibility to colds, coughs, and fevers.
Read this article to know various Tips on Preventing Viral Respiratory Infections.
If your child is frequently catching the flu, speak to a specialist who can provide a detailed assessment, and give you a custom plan with guidelines for your child’s health. Book a call with us today.