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Boosting the immune system of your child

As we embark on another school year under the shadow of the COVID-19 epidemic, many parents are asking themselves: What can we do to keep our children healthy in this environment? Is it possible to strengthen one's immune system in order to fend off COVID-19 and other illnesses?

There are no magic wands or magic pills to help you. The most effective approach to maintain a healthy immune system is, simply put, to follow the recommended health-promoting behaviors. As monotonous as it may sound, it has been tried and tested.

You can help your children stay healthy this school year by following these suggestions.

Provide them with a nutritious diet.

In this context, "healthy" refers to a diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables (five servings per day are suggested, and they should account for half of each meal plate), whole grains, and lean proteins. A balanced diet should include dairy products or another source of calcium, as well as healthy fats such as vegetable oils.

Processed meals, foods with added sugar, and foods containing unhealthy fats, such as the saturated fats found in animal products, should all be avoided as much as possible. That does not rule out the possibility of your youngster someday enjoying cookies or ice cream. However, if you want your child to be healthy, he or she should not eat those items on a daily basis. In addition to healthier baked goods, the Academy of Dietetics and Nutrition offers tips on how to improve the overall health of your family's diet.

There are several supplements on the market that promise to strengthen your immune system. While the jury is yet out on whether or not the majority of them make a significant impact, none of them can take the place of a balanced diet and exercise. If you have a kid who refuses to eat vegetables or otherwise has a restricted diet, a multivitamin containing iron may be beneficial; consult with your doctor to see whether vitamins or supplements are appropriate for your child.

Make sure that they are up to date on important vaccinations.

Immunizations provide protection against a wide range of diseases. Consult your doctor to determine whether or not your kid is up to date on vaccinations. Anyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccination every year, but it will be especially essential this year since not only is the combination of influenza and COVID-19 a little alarming, but every cold symptom this winter means missed school or work while waiting for testing results. Vaccinate everyone in your household who is eligible for a COVID-19 vaccination; it is safe and makes a significant impact in terms of preventing severe disease.

Ensure they sleep well and get enough sleep.

Sleep is necessary for everyone, even children, in order to refresh and rejuvenate our bodies. The amount of sleep a child requires varies depending on their age (from 12 to 16 hours a day for infants to eight to ten hours a day for teenagers), as well as from one child to another (some just need more than others). The use of screens should be limited — for adolescents, gadgets should be turned off an hour or two before bedtime and should ideally not be present in the bedroom at night — and sleep should be obtained by sticking to a regular sleep pattern.

Identify and manage stress

Stress impairs our health and makes us more susceptible to illness. Check-in with your children to ensure that they have downtime to play, as well as access to activities and people that will make them happy (or whatever version of that the pandemic allows). Spend quality time together as a family, and provide chances for your children to express themselves about anything that may be troubling them at the time. Many children have been sad or worried as a result of the pandemic; thus, if you have worries about your child's emotions or emotional health, you should consult with your doctor.

Make them more active.

Exercise keeps us healthy and reduces our chances of getting sick. Children should be physically engaged for at least an hour every day. "Active" does not always imply participating in sports or going to the gym; it might also refer to activities such as playing on a playground or taking a stroll. More is not always better; if you have a child who is a dedicated athlete who exercises several hours a day, check to see that the activity is not interfering with sleep or creating burnout, both of which might lead to immune system issues in the future.

Don't forget to take the basic precautions.

Simple steps may be taken by everyone in the family to help them stay healthy. Hands should be washed. Coughing and sneezing should be covered with your elbow. Keep as far away from ill individuals as possible if at all possible. Masks can also be beneficial, particularly in busy indoor environments.

Discuss any additional or alternative measures you need to take with your doctor if your kid has a health issue that might make it more difficult for him or her to fight off an illness.


Kids and Adults


No content on this site, regardless of date, should be used to replace direct medical advice from your doctor or another trained practitioner.
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