Every season, the wave of germs and viruses gets so spread out it makes it too difficult to prevent the whole family from getting sick.
A recent study done by scientists at the University of Utah School of Medicine shows that people living in a household with 2 to 3 children are infected with viruses 28 to 29 weeks per year. So, as much as we would love to avoid this from happening, children will get sick from flu, otitis or tonsillitis a few times a year — 6 to 8 times, to be exact –… unless we help them build a powerful immune system.
Through a nutritious diet, a balanced lifestyle and healthy habits, naturally boosting your child’s body defenses is the best way to keep illness at bay. It is definitely more efficient than the regular use of medication or antibiotics, which would actually have an adverse effect on his/her natural resistance in the long term.
Here are 8 simple strategies to help your children develop strong immunity and fight off these germs and viruses:
1- Focus on a healthy, varied diet with fresh fruits and vegetables, including fruit rich in immune-boosting vitamin C such as oranges and kiwis.
2- Limit your kids’ intake of sugars, refined sugars and sugary snacks. In addition to the negative impact sugar has on our weight and overall health, some studies show that the sugar glucosamine also acts an immunosuppressant. Of course, this doesn’t mean we should deny our sweet tooth forever, but we can satisfy it with healthy and natural alternatives.
3- Treat them with a spoonful of raw honey. Many studies have shown that organic, raw, unprocessed honey provides excellent health benefits, including antibacterial and antifungal properties. Personally, I prefer Manuka honey, which is even higher in nutritional content. I’ve been giving my boys one daily teaspoon of Manuka honey for a few months now, and I definitely noticed a difference in how frequently they get sick.
NB: Raw honey can only be given to toddlers older than 2 years old.
Here’s a link to the Comvita Manuka Honey UMF 15+ (Super Premium) New Zealand Honey, 250g (8.8oz) or Comvita Active Umf 15++ Manuka miel, 250 g from which I buy for my family.
4- Give them some rest. Extracurricular activities and events may be great for our children’s development, but our tendency to overschedule them can get stressful and exhausting for everyone, especially them. Stress and tiredness can both lower their immune system, so it’s important to make some time for rest during the day.
5- Make sure they get good and sound sleep. Children need to sleep enough for their little bodies and minds to re-energize, develop and function properly. They can get the sleep they need in a calm, relaxing dark room. You might also want to keep all electronic devices out of the room, because these can affect sleep quality.
6- Reduce their exposure to germs. My eldest son had a bad habit of putting his hand in his mouth, which was the main reason he frequently got tonsillitis. When you get your kids used to washing their hands thoroughly with soap, before a meal or after playtime, you help reduce their chances of getting ill.
7- But don’t be overprotective. The more kids are exposed to viruses at a young age, the stronger their immune system will be when they grow up. If your child gets sick, try not to rush to cure a flu with medicine or lower a slight fever right away. Better let him/her get plenty of rest and wait until the fever reaches 38.5°C before resorting to a treatment. After all, fever is the immune system’s way of combating an infection, so it might be worth giving this little body a chance to win the battle on its own.
8- Breastfeed your baby if possible. Breast milk has been proven to contain valuable immunity enhancing antibodies, and breastfed babies have lower chances of developing certain illnesses like ear infections, allergies and meningitis, among others.
Nothing can protect our children from ever getting sick, but we can learn a few tricks to help them build a strong immune system that can allow them to prevent or fight off illnesses. In my experience, I found these 8 steps to be simple yet amazing additions to my kids’ lifestyle, and definitely a good place to start for a healthy wholesome life.