Immune Health through the Winter Months
It is normal for children to get sick 2-3x a year, which helps develop their immune competence. It is abnormal for children to get sick more often or for them to be chronically ill with colds, ear infections, strep throat, post nasal drip/runny noses etc.
When a child is consistently sick, we need to look deeper to discover the underlying obstacles that are draining the child’s ability to mount a sufficient immune response to overcome the infection fully.
Here are a few wonderful tools you can try to help strengthen your child’s immune function beyond the basics of washing hands & avoidance:
- Vitamin D3 – In a cold climate like Flagstaff, vitamin D absorption is at an all-time low for kids and adults alike. Consider adding this powerful vitamin to your child’s daily regime to improve immune function and prevent future illness. As with any vitamin or mineral, check weight ranges to find the right dose for your child.
- Elderberry syrup – Rich in antioxidants, anthocyanidins and vitamin C, this delicious syrup proves itself repeatedly in stimulating antiviral immunity and supporting a healthy immune response. Dosing for prevention is typically 1/2 tsp daily in children over 2 years old. In sickness, 1 tsp 3x daily to aid the immune fight.
- Probiotics – Invite in the healthy flora to keep the “bad bugs” from finding a foothold. Healthy flora should abundantly line the respiratory, GI and urinary tracts. In children who have had multiple antibiotic rounds or a high stress environment, it is difficult for their systems to reestablish normal flora levels. Probiotics are a simple & inexpensive way to rebalance the most profound areas of immune function.
- Make sure you get a product that contains bacteria in the billions and has two or more varieties of microbes. To test whether the microbes are alive, open a capsule in a small amount of milk overnight in a warm place. If it is not curdled in the morning, the microbes are dead. Take it back to the store.
- Sugar avoidance – Did you know that 1 serving of sugar inhibits immune function for up to 4-6 hours after ingestion? Imagine that happening at a birthday party, church function or at school during lunch when your child’s immunity is most at risk for exposure. Avoid sugar and corn syrup in favor of fruit and even dried fruits, which are just as sweet and lack the immune inhibition side effects.
We have many other tools and informative laboratory tests that can assist in digging deeper if your child is not responding to basic immune support. Contact a naturopathic doctor in your area to identify potential immune draining obstacles in your child’s life.
*As with any medication or vitamin supplement, check with your doctor to make sure this treatment is appropriate for your child’s specific condition.