6 Easy Ways to Boost Your Child’s Immune System
By The Headlines, April 16, 2023 | 10:48 AM
Even though colds and flu are nearly unavoidable, there are steps you can take to help your children stay healthy. Protecting your child's health is the top priority for any parent. You may not be able to keep them away from all the germs, but it's important to help them build up their immune system. Even if they do get sick, it can actually be beneficial for them in the long run.
When a baby is born, their immune system is not yet mature enough to protect them from the microbes they encounter. That's why paediatricians usually recommend that children experience between 6-8 colds, flu episodes or ear infections annually - this helps to gradually strengthen their immunity.
Implementing healthy habits can help kids build strong immune systems that make it easier for them to fight off illnesses and recover quickly. Here are 6 easy ways to boost your kid’s immune system.
How to Boost Your Child's Immune System?
To help keep your child’s immune system in tip-top shape, it is important to eat more vegetables, get adequate rest, and wash your hands frequently. These are just a few of the many strategies available for promoting health.
1. Serve more fruits and vegetables
Eating brightly coloured fruits & vegetables is a great way to boost your immunity when germs are rampant. Carrots, beans, oranges, and strawberries all make excellent choices as they contain carotenoids that help strengthen your body's immune system.
Phytonutrients contain powerful antioxidants that can stimulate the body's immune system and provide protection from viruses. A balanced diet that is high in phytonutrients can also help reduce the risk of chronic illnesses such as cancer & heart disease in the long run.
Encourage your child to have at least 5 portions of fruits and vegetables every day in order to ensure they get all the vitamins and minerals their body needs.
2. Strict sleep timing
Sleep deprivation weakens our natural defences making us more vulnerable to various illnesses. It does this by reducing the number of natural killer cells, which are essential for fighting off microbes and cancer cells.
Kids at daycare are prone to sleep deprivation due to constant activity. Make sure you ask about their napping rules and if need be, get your child on an earlier sleeping schedule to guarantee they're well rested.
Children need an ample amount of sleep for healthy growth and development. Infants should have around 16 hours, toddlers 11 to 14 hours, and preschoolers 10 to 13 hours of rest daily. But if your child won't take naps during the day, put them to bed earlier as a substitute.
3. Exercise as a family
Recent research has revealed that exercising regularly in both adults and children can significantly increase the number of natural killer cells. This makes exercise an essential part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle at any age.
To ensure that your children develop a habit of active living, set a good example by exercising with them. Participate in fun activities like cycling, walking, rollerblading, basketball or tennis as a family to make physical fitness more enjoyable.
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4. Guard against the spread of germs.
Minimizing the risk of germs can be beneficial for children with underlying medical conditions, as it helps to reduce stress on their immune system &allows their body to focus more energy on other areas. While it doesn't directly improve immunity, this practice is still an effective way to protect your child's health.
To ensure that your kids are properly protected from illnesses, it's important to regularly remind them to wash their hands with soap and water. This is a straightforward and efficient precautionary measure.
It is important to enforce regular hygiene practices with your children, such as washing their hands before and after meals, playing outside, interacting with pets, blowing their nose or using the bathroom. Additionally, ensure they wash up on arriving home from daycare or school.
Before leaving the house, make sure to have disposable wipes handy for quick cleanups. You can also motivate your kids to develop a good hand-washing routine by allowing them to pick their own colourful hand towels & soap that come in interesting shapes & scents. Installing automatic hand soap dispensers is another way to get your children enthusiastic about washing their hands.
Bacterial infections such as strep throat are highly contagious, so it's important to discard the toothbrush after your child gets better in order to avoid reinfection and protect other family members from getting sick.
Wearing masks is one of the most effective ways to reduce germs. Parents should make sure their children wear masks while they have cold or flu-like symptoms, and everyone should wear them during times of high COVID-19 activity. This can assist in preventing the spread of germs and catching the latest strain.
5. Quit smoking
Smoking is a serious health hazard and should not be overlooked. It contains over 7,000 toxic chemicals which damage cells and can be fatal if not addressed. If you or any of your household members are smokers, quitting as soon as possible is the best course of action. Children are more likely to suffer the damaging effects of secondhand smoke as they breathe at a faster rate and their body's natural defence system is not yet fully developed.
Smoking e-cigarettes has serious risks for children, such as the release of carcinogenic substances like nitrosamines which can cause long-term health issues. It is important to be aware of these potential adverse effects when vaping around kids. Do not be tricked by the seemingly small amount of health risks associated with vaping; it is too new for us to accurately understand the severity of its implications.
6. Stay up-to-date on recommended vaccinations
Staying up to date with your child's immunizations is an important factor in protecting them against illnesses like meningitis, polio, and chicken pox. This can help their immune system stay strong and ready to fight off any dangerous pathogens they may encounter. Vaccinations educate a child's immune system to recognize bacteria and viruses that they may encounter so that it is prepared to resist them.
It's essential to consult a paediatrician you can rely on if you have doubts about immunizations. They can answer all your queries and help provide clarity.
Your child's paediatrician is a valuable resource when it comes to understanding the importance of vaccinations and which ones your child needs. Additionally, they can provide access to other helpful resources for you and your family. You should also stay up-to-date on recommended vaccinations for yourself so that you can be a model of health and safety for your little one.