My little darling started preschool this fall and it seems like we have been fighting off colds and infections ever since. Back to school germs are expected, but you don't have to suffer in vaine. Here are some things you can do to help build your child's immune system (and your own!) naturally.
- Teach hand washing habits. Good hand-washing habits are essential to a healthy immune system, even without using antibacterial soap (the common cold is caused by a virus, anyway!). Teach kids to sing "Row, Row, Row Your Boat," while they lather up to help them wash for the recommended 20 seconds. You can also make your own DIY natural hand sanitizer. If you can train your kids not to touch their face as much, that can help as well.
- Load up on fruits and veggies. All the great vitamins and minerals needed for a strong immune system can be found in fresh fruits and veggies. A full serving every day is the best way to fight infections before they start.
- Get lots of omega-3s. Some experts, like Dr. Sears, suggest that omega-3 fatty acids can help boost the immune system, whether from cold-water fish or fish oil capsules.
- Use an immunity boosting tincture daily. Immunity boosting drops for kids can be found at Whole Foods and many health food stores. Look for ones that include echanasia and elderberry.
- Add vitamin D. Most kids in the U.S. are thought to be vitamin D deficient—especially if they spend all their time outdoors slathered with sunscreen. Adding a vitamin D supplement is also thought to help build a strong immune system.
- If your kids are prone to stomach upsets, probiotics from yogurt, kefir, or other sources can help boost the immune system. Some people believe that healthy gut flora can also help fight off other infections.
- Help them get plenty of sleep. A lack of sleep can depress the immune system, making kids (and grown-ups!) more suceptable to colds.
When your kids do get sick, be sure to follow the day care or school's guidelines about when and how long to keep them home. In general, green mucus and a fever over 100 degrees are good indicators that your kiddo should stay home and take it easy to avoid passing the same germs around the class again.
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