Colds, flus and gastrointestinal bugs are pretty much a part of life, especially with kids. However, there are some things you can do to boost your child’s immune system, making for fewer sick days.
Add more fruits and vegetables to their diet– Phytonutrients like carotenoids and Vitamin C are great for boosting the immune system. Adding more fruits and vegetables with these two phytonutrients to their diet, can help give their immune system a boost. Fruits and vegetables that are high in carotenoids include apricots, cantaloupe, carrots and tomatoes. Fruits and vegetables that are high in Vitamin C include oranges, strawberries, broccoli and kale.
Ensure they are getting enough sleep- Not getting the proper amount of sleep can make you more susceptible to illnesses. Sleep requirements will vary by age, but according to the National Sleep Foundation, children ages 3-5 need 10-13 hours of sleep per night, children ages 6-13 need 9-11 hours of sleep per night and teenagers ages 14-17 need 8-10 hours of sleep per night.
Practice good hygiene skills- A good percentage of infections are spread through touching other people with our hands. By teaching your child proper hand-washing techniques, you can help them get rid of bacteria, germs and viruses from their hands. This is especially true for ensuring they wash their hands before eating and after using the bathroom, coughing and sneezing.
Avoid stress and anxiety– In today’s busy world, children’s calendars seem to be filled to the brim. Much like adults, when kids get anxious or stressed, their adrenaline and cortisol rises, making for a weakened immune system. It is important for kids to have a decent amount of down time so their immune system can thrive.
Avoid secondhand smoke- If an adult in the home is a smoker, now may be a good time to consider quitting. Cigarettes contain over 7,000 chemicals, including at least 69 chemicals that are carcinogens, meaning they can cause cancer. Secondhand smoke can increase your child’s risk of developing conditions like asthma, bronchitis and ear infections.