It's that time of the year! You would think with this cold weather we'd been having that no germs could survive, but judging by all the families that were hit by something or other over the holidays, I'd say that's not the case.
Often it's in school or daycare that your child picks up a bug or two and then brings it home to share with the whole family (we do teach them to share). So if you've had enough sick days to last you a while, here are some tips on boosting your child's (and your own) immune system:
Eat more fruits & veggies
Eating foods rich in vitamin C and phytonutrients which can boost your body's production of infection-fighting white blood cells. Oranges, strawberries, carrots and green beans are good options. Aim for about five servings a day (a serving being about 2 tablespoons for toddlers and about a cup for older kids). Want the biggest bang for your food? Check out our list of immune boosting snacks here!
Less stress - more sleep
Prolonged exposure to stress hormones lowers the immune system, this is true both for kids and adults. Try to make sure your child is not over scheduled, has plenty of time for just creative play and rest. Speaking of rest, getting enough sleep is important for so many reasons, and keeping a strong immune system is one of them. Find out how much sleep your child needs here!
Wash hands & toss that toothbrush
While it doesn't exactly count as an immune boost, keeping germs from spreading can certainly save you getting sick. Get your child in the habit of washing their hands after using the bathroom, being outside or handling pets and before eating. Once your child has gotten sick, be sure to toss their toothbrush. Both viruses and bacteria can transfer from one toothbrush to another, and bacteria can re-infect your child again.
Regular physical movement can boost your immune system, so make movement a part of your family activities. Go for walks or bike rides together, or join them in playing games in the yard or at the play ground. Getting plenty of fresh air and sunlight does wonders for our immune system as well, so getting moving outside is like the cherry on top!
Leave the antibiotics for bacterial infections
Most of childhood colds and flus are caused by viral infections, and antibiotics does not help with viruses, only bacterial infections. Taking antibiotics unnecessarily can affect your child's gut flora, and cause bacteria to become more immune to treatment.