Have you ever referred to children as little petri dishes? I have because in a way they are. Most children under five do not know how to blow their nose, use a tissue, clear their throats, or remember to wash their hands. All of their germ spreading gunk ends up on their faces, hands, and whatever they touch (which has no limits at this age). Germs can spread like wildfire with young children, and their brand new immune systems are still adjusting to new exposures. Some antibodies are passed from mother to child during pregnancy but they slowly disappear during the first 6-12 months of life. For these reasons kids can seem constantly sick, especially those in close contact with other cute little petri dishes in daycares or schools. Here are some basic tips and great resources for keeping your child’s immune system strong this cold/flu season.
Tips For Keeping Immune Systems Strong
Eat a Healthy Diet
Breastfeeding is best for a child’s immune system development. Human milk provides all the protein, carbohydrates, and fat your baby needs to be healthy. It also contains many substances that benefit your baby’s immune system, including antibodies, immune factors, enzymes, and white blood cells. These substances protect your baby against a wide variety of diseases and infections. If you develop a cold, breastfeeding will pass the antibodies your body produces to the baby through your milk. These antibodies will help your infant fight the cold germs and possibly avoid developing the cold altogether. However, if you are using formula, here is an excellent resource on choosing the best for your baby, and how to make your own:
All natural whole foods are an important for overall health, but here are some of the best for building a strong immune system. They are all linked to our supplements if you or your kids are not getting enough of them through diet alone:
- Coconut Oil
- Grass-fed beef or organ meat
- Probiotics/fermented foods
- bone broth/collagen
- Fish Oil
Here is a great resource on how to get kids to eat more fermented foods in their diet:
The immune system is strengthened by exposure to everyday germs so that it can learn, adapt, and regulate itself. Exposure to different environments, people, and animals can help build a defensive immune system. Studies have proven that kids with more exposure at early ages are healthier in their later years. Keeping things too clean can also remove beneficial bacteria and organisms that a body needs for a healthy immune system. Washing hands and toys is recommended, but only after playing in the dirt for a while!
A fever is a sign that the body is fighting off viruses and bacteria. Doctors now recommend letting a fever run it’s course and avoid treatment until it reaches 104 degrees or higher. Bringing down the fever handicaps the body’s natural immune responses which can prolong illnesses and may lead to something more serious that may require antibiotics.
Which brings me to my next tip …
Use antibiotics only as the last resort. Antibiotics not only kill the bacteria making you sick but your good bacteria as well. This destroys your body’s immune systems and efforts to repair it should be made after antibiotic use. Overuse of antibiotics can also cause something called bacterial resistance or antibiotic resistance. This basically means if you use them too much your body will develop a resistance and not work as well the next time you really need them. Antibiotics do not work on viral infections, and often will just give the child the side effect of antibiotics (like diarrhea) along with the viral illness. Here are articles with natural home remedies for ear infections and other cold and flu symptoms:
My Household Regimen
I have two healthy daughters ages 1 and 5 (the beautiful girls in the pictures). Here is what I do on a daily basis to help them stay healthy!
Sovereign Silver – Since ancient times silver has been highly regarded as a versatile healing tool. Sovereign Colloidal Silver has long been used, and scientifically proven, to boost the immune system, fight infection, and improve skin conditions There are many ways to use colloidal silver. I give my 1 year old a spray or two a day and my five year old 10-15 sprays. My husband and I use it daily as well. There is almost no taste to it and the children enjoy the refreshing spritz! I also use it on cuts, scrapes, and burns. We love this stuff!
Healthy foods/supplements – My children have at lease one cup of this keifer a day, a great probiotic. At times I also open a capsule of prescript assist (which I take daily) and put a little in my four year old’s orange juice if I think she is coming down with something. The kids also love to help me make elderberry gummy treats (for colds, flu and sleep from Real Food RN) and healthy immune boosting smoothies like these:
And now, my husband and I can add some Perfect Hydrolyzed Collagen to these smoothies (or plain water) to help us look and feel young again!
All Natural Remedies – I use this adorable cool mist humidifier and this aspirator (I call it the nose sucker) for stuffy noses. I use this recipe for sore throats and headaches. But most importantly, sleep and love are always the best medicine.
What is your favorite natural immune booster? Please share!