The autumn-winter period is inevitably associated with infections, especially among children. Although it is normal for young children to get sick, it is possible to reduce the frequency of infections by boosting the child’s immunity accordingly. The immune system of the child is still at the stage of development, and it acquires full-fledged protective functions only by about 12 years.
Child and immunity
Often sick children aged 2-3 years. Young children are still protected by antibodies obtained during breastfeeding. A small child (preschooler) gets sick about 8-10 times a year. These are mainly respiratory infections, most often caused by viruses.
Note! Especially vulnerable to infections are preschoolers and children attending a nursery – they come into contact with peers and completely new microbes, different from those that are at home and to which the body has already become resistant. In kindergarten and at school, the immune system is subjected to many tests, during which the child acquires immunity and learns to fight pathogens.
The vast majority of infections occur during the autumn-winter season. Given the fact that this season is only a few months old and such an infection usually lasts 1-2 weeks, it may seem that the child is constantly sick. You can often hear from parents that a baby sits at home for a week, goes to a nursery for a week, and then sits at home again for a week. It’s normal at this age. As long as the child has mild infections, this should not be a cause for concern.
However, if the child gets sick more often or the infections are extremely severe, the pediatrician should be consulted. Frequent infections further weaken the immune system and, as a result, the child gets sick even more. That is why it is so important to take care of your child’s immunity.
How to increase the child’s immunity?
The intestine is the center of immunity. A varied diet, rich in vitamins and minerals, is the basis for the formation of a child’s natural immunity. The most important for strengthening the immune system are vitamins A, C, E, as well as selenium and zinc.
The daily children’s menu should include a large number of vegetables (mainly broccoli, tomatoes, carrots, pumpkin), grains (especially cereals) and dairy products, eggs, fruits, lean meats and fish. Garlic, onion, chicory and leek should be added to dishes, i.e. sources of natural prebiotics. They can also be found in bananas, asparagus and artichokes.
Pay attention ! Live cultures of bacteria work well for immunity because they complement the gut microbiota. It is worth giving the child fermented milk products: kefir, buttermilk, natural yogurt, and pickles.
Vitamin C is found in parsley and citrus fruits. These products also have a beneficial effect on immunity: garlic, honey, ginger, raspberries. It is also very important that the child eat regularly, preferably at a certain time.
What will help the child get sick less?
- Physical activity adapted to the age of the child, and preferably outdoors,
- Enough sleep and rest. Fatigue and lack of sleep weaken the body, especially this problem can affect children attending nurseries and kindergartens, who have to get up early.
- Elimination of tobacco smoke from the environment of the child. Such exposure not only increases the risk of acute respiratory infections, but also chronic diseases such as asthma in children.
- Breast-feeding. Breastfed children are less likely to get sick, rarely suffer from respiratory and urinary tract infections.
- A healthy diet has a huge impact on supporting a child’s immunity. Nutrient deficiencies can negatively affect the functioning of the immune system.
- Avoidance of stress. Unfortunately, stress in children occurs and increases susceptibility to infections. For example, going to a nursery or kindergarten, moving to a new home, or starting a new family can be an emotional burden for a child. It is worth making an effort to relieve the stress associated with it.
- Appropriate clothing. Not only cooling, but also overheating of children negatively affects the immune system.
- Exposure to infectious agents (especially in the first 2 years of life, such as in a nursery)
- Hygiene (washing hands!). Hands can be a very rich reservoir of microorganisms, we touch various objects with them.
- Avoid sick people, take children in large crowds during the peak season of infection.
- Vaccinations have proven effective in reducing the incidence of the diseases we are vaccinated against.
The rules are simple, inexpensive and clear. First, outdoor activities: cycling, rollerblading or scooter. The child should move as much as possible and stay in the fresh air every day, at least an hour, including in cold weather. It is worth taking care of the right clothes, trying not to overheat the baby. Dress the baby so that you can remove the top layer, if necessary.
Parents should make sure that the child sleeps well. It is important to have a routine and adherence to a consistent bedtime, to make sure that before going to bed the baby does not sit in front of the screens. The child should sleep up to ten hours a day. The room must be ventilated beforehand.
Natural remedies for children’s immunity
Herbs strengthen the body, do not destroy the intestinal bacterial flora, support traditional methods of treatment, sometimes even replace them (for example, in the early phase of a cold). However, before using them, you should discuss with a specialist the possibility of including herbs in your diet.
Additional Information! There are many herbs that strengthen the immune system and are safe for children. These include linden, raspberry, dandelion, chamomile, rosehip. Herbs can be given to children, but the number of types intended for them will, of course, be less than for adults. Children are given light herbs such as fennel, chamomile or anise tea – they are given to children from the first months of life. Children older than 4-6 years old enjoy drinking linden or calendula tea.
Children’s chamomile tea has calming properties, strengthens the body and its immunity. It has a strong anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and disinfectant effect. It is used for weakening the body, inflammation of the upper respiratory tract (tonsillitis, sinusitis), inflammation of the oral cavity.
Raspberry fruits and juice are used for colds, they have a tonic, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antipyretic, diaphoretic and expectorant effect. Raspberry leaves have a general strengthening effect, it is used for weakness after illness. The tea consumed can strengthen the immune system. Raspberry juice and an infusion of leaves and dried raspberries are recommended for children.
Infusion of linden flowers is used for fever, flu, colds, coughs, sore throats, bronchitis. Linden flowers have a diaphoretic, antipyretic, anti-inflammatory, diuretic, protective and enveloping effect on the digestive tract due to mucous compounds. An infusion of linden flowers is recommended for children.
Rose hips have a stimulating effect on the immune system. They are used for colds, flu, sore throats and during the recovery period. Rosehip tea is recommended for children.
Nettle leaves regulate blood circulation. Strengthen the immune system, have an anti-inflammatory and tonic effect in case of weakness after illness. Nettle tea is recommended for children.
Garlic, as a natural antibiotic , when taken regularly, supports the body’s immunity and fights against all inflammations of the respiratory tract, colds and flu. It is also a strong anthelmintic, supports digestion, and has an expectorant effect. Garlic oil is recommended for children.
Raw onions have a strong bactericidal effect, so syrups are made from it, used in the treatment of the upper respiratory tract. With systematic use in autumn and spring, it strengthens the body’s resistance to bacterial infections.