Boosting your child’s immune system


With schools closed for the rest of the academic year due to the coronavirus outbreak, many parents are asking themselves: What can we do now to keep our children healthy during the summer break? Is there any way to boost the immune system to ward off COVID- 19 and other illnesses?

Yes, but there are no magic potions or magic pills. To keep the immune system healthy, you need to take certain steps to keep yourself healthy. It’s tried and tested.

Here’s what you can do to help keep your children healthy this school year.

Make sure they get a healthy diet

A healthy diet means one that has lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Healthy eating includes dairy products and other sources of calcium, and healthy fat sources like vegetable oils.

Avoid processed foods, foods with too much added sugar, and foods containing unhealthy fats, like the ones found in animal products.That doesn’t mean your child can never eat cookies or ice cream, but they need to learn that these foods aren’t always good for them. If you want your child to be healthy they shouldn’t eat those foods every day but if you want them to be healthy they shouldn’t avoid those foods entirely.

Many supplements claim to boost your immune systems. Most of them don’t actually make a big difference, but they’re not harmful either. If your child refuses vegetables or has a limited diet, taking a multi-vitamin with iron may be a good idea. Talk to your doctor about whether vitamin or supplement use is a good idea for your kid.

Make sure they get sufficient rest.

Children need sleep to refresh and re­charge their bodies just like adults do. The amount of sleep children need varies by age (from twelve to sixteen hours a day for infants, to eight to ten hours for teenagers), and also from child to adult (some just need more sleep than others). You can encourage healthy sleeping habits by limiting screen time and keeping to a regular sleep schedule.

Get them active

Regular exercise helps keep us healthy and less likely get sick. Children should really be physically active for an hour a daily. “Physical activity” doesn’t have necessarily mean playing sports or going to the gym. It could be playing at the park or walking around the neighborhood. More is not always better. If you have a child who plays sports, exercises several hours a day, be sure that the exercise doesn’t eat into sleep or cause burnout, both of these things could cause problems with the body’s immune system. As for that…

Manage stress

Stress makes us less physically fit and more prone to illness. Make sure that kids get time to play, and access things that make them happy (whatever version of that the pandemics allows). Spend time together as family, and create opportunities to talk about things that may be bothering them. During the coronavirus pandemic, many children have become depressed or anxious, so talk to your doctor if you have concerns about their moods or emotional health.

Make sure they are up to date on important vaccines

Immunizations protect us against all sorts of diseases. Talk to your doctor to see if you need to get your child up to date on immunization shots. Influenza vaccine is recommended yearly for everyone aged six months or older. It will be especially important this year because of the combination of influenza and coronavirus. Every cold symptom this winter will mean lost school or work while we wait for test results. Please, vaccinate everyone in the family who is eligible against coronavirus. It is safe and makes a huge difference when it comes to avoiding serious illness.

Don’t forget the simple precautions

Everyone in the family could take simple precautions to keep themselves healthy. Wash your hands. Cover your coughs, sneezes, and runny noses with your elbow. Avoid sick people as far as possible. Masks can also help, especially when there are lots of people around.

If your child has an illness that might make it harder for them to fight off an infection—such as a weakened immune system—talk to your doctor about any additional or different precautions you should consider taking.

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