BEAT THE COLDadmin
It’s always worrying when your usually active child looks sluggish – she’s come down with a cold or the flu, again. Even as she starts feeling better, you’re anxious to reduce her number of sick days.
A strong immune system is what you should help her build as a defence against illnesses. It is the body’s protection against disease causing microorganisms, such as bacteria, viruses, fungi
and parasites. Signs of a weakened immune system may include allergic reactions, fatigue, an inability to focus, recurring infections – such as ear infections – and frequent cold or flu symptoms, according to Mitch Mahler, director of training and education at Hyland’s, a long-standing US brand known for its line of natural medicines.
As pathogens are everywhere – from the home and playground, to her kindergarten or childcare centre – there is no way to germ-proof your kid. But if you boost her immunity, you can help her body fight off these pathogens naturally.
Strengthen her system
Her immune system comes up against numerous challenges every day. Poor air quality, insufficient sleep, inadequate nutrition, and the excessive use of antibiotics and pharmaceutical products, all contribute to weakening your child’s immunity. It doesn’t help, either, if her meals and snacks are loaded with artificial flavours and colours, preservatives, sugar and salt. Exercise is a boon, but many children do not get enough of it these days, with outdoor play being replaced by tablets, smartphones and television.
“All these conditions and lifestyle habits make it difficult for your child to build a strong immune system,” Mitch adds. He offers five steps to improve her immunity the natural way:
Make sure she gets enough sleep
Quality sleep is essential because our cells rebuild and regenerate while we sleep. This is how much sleep children of different ages need (including naps):
- Infants up to a year old may need up to 16 hours of sleep per day
- Three- to six-year-olds need about 10 to 12 hours
- Six- to 12-year-olds need about 10 hours
- 12- to 18-year-olds need about eight to nine hours
Remind her to drink enough water during the day
Water performs very important functions in the body; it is responsible for distributing nutrients, eliminating toxins, digesting soluble fibre, keeping the tissues in the body moist, and regulating body temperature. In hot and humid Singapore, it is especially important to stay hydrated. Mitch advises you to get your little one to drink up before she feels thirsty, as thirst is a sign that her body is already dehydrated.
Feed her a balanced diet
Good nutrition translates to a strong, healthy body. Mitch suggests giving your child plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables daily, as these are full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fibre. “Keep the consumption of sugar, trans fats, fast foods and highly processed foods to a minimum,” he adds. “And remember that meals made from scratch – with whole, unprocessed ingredients – are always more nutritious than takeaway or pre-packaged convenience foods.”
Incorporate supplements into her diet
A good probiotic and a good multivitamin and mineral blend are an excellent addition to her diet. Research shows that probiotics help with digestion, overall immune function, and even with some conditions that are associated with anxiety. It is essential to administer probiotics if your child has been given any antibiotics, says Mitch. When buying multivitamins, choose A strong immune system is what you should help her build as a defence against illnesses. It is the body’s protection against disease causing microorganisms, such as bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites. Signs of a weakened immune system may include allergic reactions, fatigue, an inability to focus, recurring infections – such as ear infections – and frequent cold or flu symptoms, according to Mitch Mahler, director of training and education at Hyland’s, a long-standing US brand known for its line of natural medicines. a product that includes minerals, too, as they are important for building strong bones.
Schedule time for outdoor exercise Young children should have 30 to 60 minutes a day to run around and play, preferably outside. Exercise is essential for a healthy body. It builds muscle, strengthens the bones, cleanses the body through perspiration, and keeps the heart healthy.
If your child is under the weather, get her to try some of these natural alternatives that provide relief without stimulant side effects. The formulas are also non-drowsy.
Important: if your kid has a temperature of over 38.3 °C, or if her flu symptoms persist for more than seven days, see a doctor or alternative health-care professional. Hyland’s 4 Kids is suitable for children aged 2 to 12, while Hyland’s Baby is for little ones under 2.