This time of year, life is busy. The craziness of the season can take a
toll on the immune system, so it’s no coincidence that kids often
bring home nasty colds right around the holidays. Schools are a hotbed
for germs, and if there’s one thing that kids are good at sharing,
From the classroom to the cafeteria and bathrooms, germs are lurking everywhere.
It’s important to take precautions while your child’s immune
system is developing. Here are some tips on how to boost your child’s
immune system, so you and your family can enjoy the holiday break sniffle-free.
It comes as no surprise that sleep is important to children in their developmental
years. But how important is it? Sleep promotes growth and heart health
and can increase your child’s attention span. During sleep the body
produces proteins called cytokines that help fight infections. Recommended
nightly hours of sleep vary by age:
Ages 3-5: between 10 and 13 hours of sleep
Ages 6-13: between 9 and 11 hours of sleep
Ages 14-18: between 8 and 10 hours of sleep
Encouraging kids to wash their hands is an easy way to reduce the spread
of germs. Studies show that when it comes to children, only 8% of boys
and 33% of girls use soap. Teaching them to use soap and wash their hands
for at least 20 seconds is an important step to keeping them healthy.
Also, teach your children to avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth
with their fingers as this is a common way that children catch viral and
Changes in your child’s routine, like holiday busyness, can cause
stress which may weaken his or her immune system.
“Stress in children is more common that most people think and can
cause changes in appetite, headaches, stomach aches, and bedwetting,” says
Dr. Ellen Davis, CaroMont Pediatric Partners - Gastonia. “That’s why it’s important to create consistency, especially
with healthy snacking and bedtime routines.”
As a parent, you want to do everything you can to make sure your child
is performing at his or her best—and a balanced diet is a great
place to start. A diet full of fruits, vegetables and protein promotes
a healthy immune system, helps organs and tissues work effectively and
keeps the mind sharp.
The average child gets between six and ten colds a year, so don’t
blame yourself when they do get sick. Their immune system is still developing,
and getting colds actually helps to strengthen it. Be careful not to be
the cause of germs spreading in your child’s school; keep them home
when they are under the weather and especially if they have had a fever
in the past 24 hours.
Visit the doctor when your child is sick to get a correct diagnosis. Treating
your child’s illness properly can help lessen the severity and stop
the spread of germs.