I have a 5 year old who is constantly getting sick. It.is.the.worst! If anyone were to cough on him guaranteed mere minutes later he would too be coughing like a dog. How can I protect him? How can I stop him from getting sick all the time? I don’t want him to live on antibiotics, that’s probably how he got such a weakened immune system in the first place. I wish I had known how damaging the use of antibiotics were. Thankfully when my second bub came around I was much more educated about all of this, I had taken to doing my own research because our health system here is.a.big.fat.JOKE. Honestly, I don’t know how many people have been sent home with a pat on the back after seeing the doctor here, told everything is fine and dandy only to be diagnosed with a terminal illness in another country! It.is.ridiculous. Therefore I have to be smart about this. By smart I mean taking to Dr Google & Web MD for the answers. Or at least to educate myself so I know exactly what questions I should be asking these ridiculous doctors.
So after having a particularly bad night with Master Five I have jumped on the “trusty” internet to research how I can boost my child’s immune system, honestly I don’t know why I haven’t done this already. I did ask a doctor this question once and was told I can’t boost his immune system…well that really does not satisfy me in the least, I have to try something. Here’s what Dr Google has to say on the matter:
- Make great diet a habit – A child’s immune system can take a hit if they’re constantly eating a diet high in additives, preservatives and sugar or if they have an undiagnosed food allergy. All these things can affect digestion and increase inflammation, making it more difficult to fight viruses or bacteria. Instead of highly processed foods, make sure your child is getting plenty of fresh, whole foods, including fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, lean proteins and unprocessed whole grains. If your child has unexplained, rashes, eczema or a constantly runny nose or other symptoms that have you questioning a food allergy, it may be worth looking into. Providing a variety of vegetables ensures that they get plenty of phytonutrients to keep them healthy – aim for about five servings of fruits and vegetables per day. I have considered food allergies even made a food diary, the whole shebang, there didnt seem to be any correlation between his diet and his less than sub par immune system. I do however need to increase his vegetable intake, he’s fine with fruit but veges, not so much.
- Give them healthy bugs – Probiotics are healthy bacteria, which naturally occur in the gut. They help protect the digestive tract, get rid of toxins, digest food and may even boost immunity. While you could ask your pediatrician to help you find the right dose, you can also start by implementing probiotic-rich foods. Some kid-friendly options are plain organic yogurt topped with fresh fruit, kefir, or sauerkraut. I will have to do some digging around for this one. Everything we have here is imported, apart from fruit and vegetables (well some of those are also imported). I dont really know much about probiotics. Back to Google!
- Decrease stress – Children’s bodies react the same way as adults to stress and elevated stress hormones can lead to decreased immunity. Going to school may not seem stressful to us, but for children, it can be — especially if it’s their first time away from home, or if they’re starting a new school. Nowadays, children are as overstressed as adults thanks to our fast paced, over-scheduled, lives. Having plenty of down time for rest and creative play can help lower their stress levels and keep them from getting sick. Making sure they have plenty of time to unwind, as well as relaxation exercises such as deep breathing, which can help them decompress, are critical for keeping the immune functioning properly. Interesting, I never thought of this. School has just started again and he is now at “big school” and not at pre-school anymore so this could be a contributing factor to the most recent bought of sickness. He loves school though.
- Get plenty of sleep – Depending on age, children need between 10 and 14 hours of sleep a day, and many children aren’t getting enough. Sleep deprivation can lower the immune system, making children more susceptible to being affected by germs and bacteria. When children are overtired and over stimulated, which is very common during the first few weeks of school, it can be harder for them to fall asleep. Instead of letting them become overtired, make sure they have at least an hour to decompress without the use of electronics before bed, and get them to bed early enough to get a good night’s sleep. I have definitely tried this. Now I need to google “how to get my kid to sleep more”, he is definitely tough to get to sleep at night but so far these past two weeks he has slept before 9pm which is gold in my books.
- Try Herbs and Supplements – Some supplements can do wonders do boost the immune system. The key is to take them on a regular basis to keep immunity high, instead of waiting until sickness has already struck. Vitamin C can help fight of germs and zinc is a safe and effective way to keep germs at bay. Fermented cod liver oil boasts high levels of the fat-soluble vitamins A, D and K, which are very important — not only for immunity — but also for overall vitality. Elderberry syrup can also be taken for its anti-inflammatory and antiviral benefits. To find the right dose for your child, be sure to check with your pediatrician. Elderberry syrup…I sure hope our pharmacy stocks this, I will have to try this out. Appreciate if any Mom’s out there have experience with this syrup I would like to know if it really does help, after all, we all know “Google” can sometimes be misleading, or make you flip out more!
I will be undertaking the advice from the above and documenting our progress. I hope it helps because I feel sorry for my poor son getting sick all the time, and I also need to sleep!
Luck to me!