Boosting Your Child’s Immune System

Paediatrics

To most parents, signs such as running noses, recurrent flu, gastrointestinal bugs, constant colds among others seem normal or are just par for the course of children’s’ attending day care or school. What they fail to recognize is, not all children get sick, or get runny noses, or even contract gastrointestinal bugs. It is important for parents to note that recurrent infections to children are a result of a weak immune system enabling children to catch every bug that crosses their path. Fortunately, there are a lot of techniques parents can use to boost their children’s immune system, speed healing safely and effectively – important not only in the ongoing pandemic but for a lifetime of good health.

Breastfeed your baby

Mothers who don’t breastfeed their children should understand that breastfeeding is the most crucial present a mother can offer to her children to help them develop a strong immune system. This is because, breastmilk is rich in necessary factors including essential fatty acids that can protect babies against disease-causing microorganisms, in addition to, providing all the nutrition a baby may need.

Avoid unnecessary anti-biotics

Parents, at times, over-treat their children with anti-biotics without a prescription even in minor viral illnesses which may be self-limiting. Repeated courses of anti-biotics not only weaken the immune system but also make it bug-resistant to many anti-biotics forcing doctors to prescribe stronger anti-biotics for subsequent infections.  Avoid self-medication.

Keep an eye on sugar intake

Studies show that a spike in sugar intake leads to a lower white blood cell count. This is why many kids get sick after parties or festivities - immunity lowered due to excess sugar. Increasing vitamin C intake for a few days before and a few days after these events could help to prevent the onset of an infection.

Help children to be less stressed and anxious

Since today’s world moves really fast, most parents are often overstressed and children over-scheduled in various activities in and out of school. This kind of setting makes everyone suffer given children can’t really handle stress as adults do resulting in stress and anxiety. Such situations always make the children’s hormone levels (such as cortisol and adrenaline) elevate, lowering their immune system altogether. Parents, therefore, must ensure that their children have a lot of downtime by creative playing and simple times to rest so that their immune system may thrive. Additionally, massages can be another amazing way to relieve stress and stimulate an infant’s immune system.

Always get children enough sleep time

Surveys show that children with less sleep time are bound to have lowered immune systems. Depending on the age, children generally require an average of between ten and 14 hours of sleep each day. Not just sleep, though, but the quality of sleep matters most. To ensure that, children should sleep in the dark, without a night light since electromagnetic frequencies affects sleep quality by inhibiting secretion of the sleep hormone known as melatonin. Therefore, parents should ensure that all electronic devices are unplugged in their children’s rooms while they are sleeping.

Offer healthier diets to children

A child’s immune system can’t sustain bugs, cold, flu among other threats if it is constantly being bombarded with food intolerances, additives, preservatives, and sugar. The moment a child experiences some form of food allergy, the event upsets a series of other events starting with poor digestion, inflammation is ramped up making the child’s body unable to defend itself against viruses and bacteria. The same happens when a child is being fed with foods that have additives and preservatives.

Finally, parents should create a culture to use supplements and herbs to boost their children’s immune system

Some of the best-known supplements that can boost a child’s immune system include not only OTC products like vitamin D and zinc but even regular kitchen ingredients such as tulsi and turmeric. In case of allergies, fish oil, vitamin C and nettles often work best. Therefore, parents should ensure that their children are at the best they can be if they want to boost their immune systems naturally.

 

About the Author: Dr. Payal Puri (M.B.B.S, D.C.H., D.N.B. (Paediatrics)) is a practicing paediatrician and neonatologist. Dr. Puri has extensive experience in the intensive care of critically ill or premature newborn infants, spanning over 14years. She has been affiliated with some of the finest medical institutions of India such as the Bombay Hospital And Research Centre, Mumbai and KEM Hospital, Mumbai. Currently, she runs her own NICU and is also affiliated with Shri Sai Hospital, Moradabad.

 

Excerpt: To most parents, signs such as running noses, recurrent flu, gastrointestinal bugs, constant colds among others seem normal or are just par for the course of children’s’ attending day care or school. What they fail to recognize is, not all children get sick, or get runny noses, or even contract gastrointestinal bugs.