The summer holidays are coming to an end already and the kids are going back to school soon or maybe starting daycare. Whatever the case may be, it’s the time of the year where everyone starts coming home with random viruses. Cue the fevers, coughing, sneezing, copious mucousy runny noses and maybe even vomiting. It’s all part of childhood and educating a young immune system and believe it or not, it’s actually better for children to encounter more microbes throughout childhood because that will result in a more robust, balanced immune system when they reach their adult years. Having said all that, being sick with anything is not fun for anyone and it becomes specially challenging if you are a working mom or dad or have other little ones to care for.
So here are 5 ways that you can help keep your little one’s immune system in top shape, in order to either avoid getting sick or in order to recover in record time with minimal time out! These tips will actually work for the entire family!
- Take Vitamin D
We’ve known for a while now thanks to research, that vitamin D helps modulate the immune system. So ensuring that your little one has adequate amounts is important. You can do this through careful sun exposure during the summer months and by supplementation September to June. When taking a supplement, make sure the vitamin D is in a carrier oil because that will help with absorption.
- Daily Probiotics
These live microorganisms are able to modulate the immune system and so they are beneficial not only as treatment but also as a preventive measure to be taken on a daily basis. Here are my favorites:
For ages 0-2 Metagenics Ultra Flora Baby or HMF Baby B or F.
For ages 2-4 HMF Toddler + Pro or NFH Children’s Probio SAP.
For ages 4-12 NFH Children’s Probio SAP or HMF Fit For School.
I love echinacea and have been using A.Vogel’s Echinaforce Extra as an adult for a decade. I now give my 2 year old Echinaforce Junior. It’s A.Vogel’s echinacea for children and it works very well! Bonus: The product now has Swiss research to show how well it works and the results they came back with are great! Here they are… taking Echinaforce Junior as a preventive measure and then also as treatment results in 33% less cold & flu episodes, 67% less days with fever when sick, 64% less bacterial complications and 73% less need for antibiotics. Those are great numbers! Everyone in our house takes A.Vogel’s Echinaforce through the school year. It can be bought in any Shoppers Drugmart, Loblaws and most health food stores.
- Diet Considerations
You might be surprised to know that it takes only a teaspoon of sugar to significantly weaken the body’s immune system for 24 hours! So at the top of my list of dietary considerations with my little one, is keeping her sugar intake as low as I can and sticking to fruit sugars as much as possible. Second on my list is little to no dairy. Dairy causes mucous production and also has pro-inflammatory properties, both of which weaken the immune system, so skip it when you think you or your little one might be coming down with something.
- Sleep Considerations
Sleep is always at the top of my list for “things that heal”. Both the mind and body heal best when a person gets the good quality sleep that they need. Make the sleeping space, as dark and quiet as possible.