Colds, flu, tummy bugs.
While these things are just par for the course with school-going children, there are ways you can reduce their chances of picking up every nasty bug going.
Here are a few ideas…
Breastfeed them as babies
Studies have shown that babies who are breastfed are less likely to get infections than formula-fed tots.
When babies are born, their immune systems are very immature so their ability to fight germs isn’t well-developed. Breastmilk is packed with antibodies which fight illness.
A good diet is key
Kids’ immune systems can take a hit if they’re constantly taking in additives, preservatives and sugar.
Avoid buying prepacked, processed foods and focus on filling up the shopping trolley with natural foods, particularly fruit and vegetables, which are full of vitamins and minerals to keep illness at bay.
Talk about their worries
Children’s bodies respond to stress the same way as adults: their cortisol and adrenaline surges. When this elevation in stress hormones continues for long periods or recurs frequently, their immune systems’ response is lowered.
So be sure to fit plenty of downtime into your kids’ schedules and chat to them if you feel they’re out-of-sorts. Talking about problems helps us de-stress, at any age.
Be sure they’re getting enough sleep
Children need between 10-14 hours of sleep a night, depending on their age. But it’s the quality of sleep that really counts.
Make sure your child has a proper, restful night by ensuring their bedroom is dark, without a night light (if possible!) Kids need proper darkness for the proper secretion of melatonin (our sleep hormone).
Don’t fret over a fever
Many parents fret at the first sign of a temperature rise. But it’s important to remember that fever is just a sign of illness, not an illness in itself.
It’s just your child’s body’s response to an infection. Without it, their body isn’t as effective at fighting off the illness.
Supplements can work wonders
The best supplements to boost your child’s immune system are vitamin D and zinc, but it’s best to chat to your doctor before settling on a particular supplement.