Protecting your children from germs, bacteria and illnesses is a common concern for parents.
Flu, colds, viruses and infections can cause misery for both you and your family all year round. Attack is often the best form of defence and so by building up your child’s immune system you can keep them fighting fit.
- Boost Omega 3 levels – This is not just found in oily fish, but also in vegetable oils, nuts such as walnuts and pecans (ensure they aren’t whole for young children), flaxseed, and green leafy vegetables. The essential fatty acids found in Omega 3 are beneficial for your child’s white blood cell count – vital for fighting off infection, and also help lower the chances of a respiratory infection.
- Get outside – Sunshine will increase vitamin D levels which in turn boosts the immune system and helps with the absorption of calcium (for building healthy bones).
- Stop smoking – Children are more affected by smoke levels as they breathe faster, and therefore inhale more toxins. Second-hand smoke will strongly increase your child’s risk of bronchitis and asthma, as well as other diseases, and can affect the development of a child’s immune system.
- Try not to ‘self-prescribe’ antibiotics for your child – If they are actively prescribed by your GP then that’s fine. But pushing for your child to have unnecessary antibiotics courses can increase the likelihood of stronger antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
- Sleep – We know this can be a hard one, as not every child is agreeable to the idea. But lack of sleep (recommendations vary according to age, but can be up to 18 hours a day for newborns) will seriously decrease your child’s immune system.
- Immune boosting foods – Diet knowledge has improved vastly in the last decade. We know that consumption of a varied and colourful diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables is recommended but other foods are also beneficial. Spices like ginger and turmeric are recommended for their immunity and digestion-aiding properties.
We know colds, flu and sniffles can be just as painful to watch in your children as to have yourself, so hopefully these tips help you work towards having a happy, healthy family and boosting their immune system to defend against those pesky viruses!