with Sarah Harris, Paediatric & Family Naturopath
Are You Sick of Your Kids Being Sick?
Do you shudder when you hear someone cough nearby them because you just know you’re kids are going to get sick? Do your kids often complete a course of antibiotics to treat an infection, only for it to return a month later? You are not alone! Hordes of children are frequently unwell with upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs), influenza (flu), ear infections, and a multitude of other recurrent infections. So what is it that decreases their immune system function – and what can you do about it?
Has Your Children’s Immune System Gone on Strike?
Several factors have the potential to diminish their immune function and make them more susceptible to getting sick; these include stress, a lack of regular exercise, inadequate sleep, and poor nutrition. Frequent antibiotic use, which often goes hand in hand with repeated infections, can also contribute to lowered immunity. It’s true that antibiotics serve an essential purpose in eliminating bacterial infections to help us feel well again. However, they are commonly overprescribed for viral infections (such as colds, flus, and URTIs), even though they do not have any effect against viruses. This overuse of antibiotics can not only reduce their efficacy, but also unbalance the ‘good’ bacteria in the gut, further compromising immunity. So you may be asking “what’s the solution?” Fortunately, there are natural treatments available which can help to strengthen your immune system and keep your children well for longer.
Boost Immunity to Combat Infection
Can you imagine a life in which your children feel vibrant and healthy? With the correct immune support, this could be a reality! Ask your Paediatric & Family Naturopath about the following natural immune boosters:
Coriolus: This medicinal mushroom increases the production of immune cells that help you fight off infections more effectively.
Reishi: Another medicinal mushroom which exerts potent antiviral activity to help you recover faster.
Astragalus: A well-known immune enhancing herb which can reduce the occurrence of reinfection.
Astragalus also helps to restore energy levels after being sick.
Lifestyle Tips to Improve Your Children’s Immune Defences
In addition to taking immune enhancing herbs and mushrooms, there are numerous ways you can support healthy immunity through your children’s diet and lifestyle choices:
- Rest! You may be surprised by how effective your children’s immune system can be when you give it a chance. Ensure they get a good night’s sleep and let their body work its magic.
- Eat plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits. These foods contain abundant immune supportive vitamins and minerals including vitamin C and zinc.
- Go for garlic and ginger. Garlic is a broad-spectrum antimicrobial agent and an immune booster. Ginger helps to warm you up and fends off illness by reducing inflammation.
- Drink plenty of water. It is essential that your children keep hydrated. When they are unwell, fluids are rapidly lost through having a runny nose, coughing, and sweating.
- Unwind. While it may be difficult to reduce your children’s ‘stressors’ (like busy child care or kindergarten, after school activities, etc.), it is possible to manage stress more effectively.
Support them to participate in relaxing play, board games, meditation, and deep breathing exercises 3 to 4 times a week, or as often as needed.
Keep Your Children’s Immune Game Strong
Another way that you can ward off infection in your children is by ensuring they have sufficient stores of some key vitamins and minerals that support and improve immune health, such as:
Vitamin C – sources include red and yellow capsicum, citrus fruits (especially oranges), kiwi fruit, strawberries, brussels sprouts, broccoli, and even the humble tomato.
Zinc – at the initial signs of a viral or bacterial infection, zinc deploys infection-fighting white blood cells to destroy it. Food sources of zinc include seafood, meat, wheat germ, spinach, seeds (e.g. pumpkin, sesame), nuts (especially cashews), and beans (e.g. chickpeas, adzuki).
Embrace A Life Of Wellness for you and your children!
If recurrent infections are an issue for you or your children, speak with your Paediatric & Family Naturopath today about boosting your families’ immune function to get well and stay well. Kick sickness to the kerb, break the antibiotic cycle and enjoy a life of health, happiness and vitality!
Sarah Harris is a qualified and experienced naturopath, herbalist and nutritionist with more than a decade of knowledge and practice in complementary medicine. As a mother of three children and highly skilled in providing naturopathic care, Sarah has a special interest in treating children of all ages. Her empathetic and kind nature instills comfort and confidence when providing advice to parents about their child’s health and she works well with families and individuals to find solutions for health concerns.