We all know it. We all prep for it. Cold and flu season is coming upon us. Here are some common sense tips to boost your child's immune system and see less colds run through the home.
1. Cover the hygiene basics
- washing hands sure does reduce the transmission of viruses
- keep kids' hands away from their mouth
- plain old soap is sufficient, no need for antibacterial washes
2. Get plenty of rest
- School age kids need 10-12 hours of sleep per night
3. Eat well
- Ahh, this can be tricky with kids. Especially those who tend toward a beige diet - pasta, bread and the like.
- Find clever ways to slip in veggies to turn their meals more into a rainbow diet. In my house, veggies get pureed into sauces & baked goods. My kids are fans of kale chips and seaweed snacks. I strive to have veggie plates pre made for healthy after school snacks.
- Reduce the sugar. Sugar consumption can suppress the immune system for up to 8 hours.
- It is common knowledge now that along with antibiotic treatment, one should replace the beneficial bacteria of the gut with probiotic supplements. Expanding on this knowledge is that normal flora in the gut play a critical role in supporting the immune system and preventing infections
- Above is a video featuring Dr Nigel Plummer, an expert in the field of probiotic therapy and the genius behind the HMF line of probiotics that we carry at the clinic.
5. Nourish the fever
- A raised temperature naturally increases circulation, to get immune cells to where they need to be
- Fevers increase the body's metabolism - enhancing the immune system's fighting action
- Bacteria are naturally killed at temperatures above 39 degrees celsius
- Encourage plenty of fluids, to reduce the risk of dehydration
6. Reduce Stress
- Keeping the emotional climate at home healthy and in balance can do numbers to reduce your child's stress levels
- Kids need free play just as much as structured scholastic activity. Getting bored and being in play is a great way for not only kids to unwind but parents as well.
If your child has frequent colds or infections -- one or more per month, it may be time to bring him/her in for a naturopathic consult. I can decipher what may be triggering these frequent infections and get your child back on track to a healthy winter season.
Sanchex, A. et al. Role of Sugars in Human Neutrophilic Phagocytosis, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Nov 1973; 261:1180_1184.
Mackowiak PA, Marling-Cason M. "Hyperthermic enhancement of serum antimicrobial activity: mechanism by which fever might exert a beneficial effect on the outcome of gram-negative sepsis" Infect Immun. 39(1): 38-42 1983
Suzanne C. Segerstrom et al. "Psychological Stress and the Human Immune System: A Meta-Analytic Study of 30 Years of Inquiry." Psychological Bulletin, Vol. 130, No. 4, 2004