Boosting Your Child’s Natural Ability to Fight Sickness

Jan 10, 2024

Boosting a Child’s Natural Immunity

Protecting children from sickness and diseases is a top priority for parents. Some childhood ailments are almost inevitable and are not a cause for concern. As children grow, the bacteria, viruses and other organisms they are exposed to everyday, activate and strengthen their immune systems. Pediatricians consider minor ailments such as colds, flus, minor upset stomachs, ear infections and mild viral infections as normal. Other ailments, however, are avoidable and if they do occur, can lead to lifelong health concerns. The basics of keeping children healthy is not rocket science – it requires a little care and a lot of common sense.

Developing healthy habits in children goes a long way towards preventing the onset of diseases that could have a lasting impact on their health. These habits include healthy eating, developing good hygiene practices, learning about the need to give children vitamins and nutritional supplements, teaching them the importance of exercise and rest, etc. There are various ways by which parents can protect their children’s health.

Breast Milk Is Best

Mother’s milk contains essential nutrients for newborns. In addition, it is also full of immunity-enhancing antibodies from the mother. A breastfed baby has a greater resistance to disease than one who has not been breastfed. The health benefits are not only in the infant stage. There is evidence that the health benefits of mother’s milk carry on into adulthood.

Include Fresh Fruits and Vegetables in the Diet

Fruits and vegetables contain various minerals and vitamins that are essential to a child’s healthy development. Besides the normal vegetable diet, it is good to focus on brightly coloured items such as:

  • Green beans
  • Carrots
  • Strawberries
  • Oranges

Brightly colored fruits and vegetables contain carotenoids which are immunity boosters. They increase the body’s production of disease-fighting white blood cells and also the production of interferon which helps the system to keep viruses away. Irrespective of food preference (vegetarian or non-vegetarian), eating 4 servings of fruits and vegetables a day will boost a child’s natural immunity. If a child shows signs of a diet-related health issue, it is best to consult a pediatrician before adding vitamins and supplements to the child’s diet.

Also Read: Regular Health Checkups for Children Are Vital for Long-Term Good Health

Increase Sleep Time

Inadequate sleep is a known cause of many physical and psychological ailments in adults due to the negative impact it has on the metabolic system. The same is true for children. Although their natural energy levels may make it hard to spot signs of inadequate sleep, the risks are great. The accepted amounts of sleep for children are as follows:

  • 16 hours a day for infants
  • 11 to 14 hours for toddlers
  • 10 to 13 hours for children starting school

These are not hard and fast rules. If you feel your child is not getting enough sleep or is showing signs of fatigue even though the sleep duration is adequate, contact a pediatrician.

Guard Against Germs

Although COVID appears to be over, the habit of taking steps to protect a child from infection should not be forgotten. All the hygiene precautions such as frequent hand washing, using disposable wipes and so on are habits that should stay. Explaining what could happen if good hygiene practices are not followed will help inculcate good habits in the child. Viruses continually mutate and there are always going to be both new diseases as well as new variations of existing ones.

Exercise As a Family

It has been proven that regular exercise boosts the immune system in both adults and children. Children are naturally active and love to play. Regular family physical activities such as going for walks, cycling, football, basketball, etc. are beneficial in many ways. It will ensure that children get the right kind of exercise; it will boost their immunity and energy levels and is a wonderful family bonding method. A close-knit family is often a healthier one.

Stop Exposure to Smoke

Adults know that smoking is a serious health hazard. Many still continue to smoke because they do not feel any apparent health issues. What must be kept in mind is that the effects of smoking are slow to emerge, but when they do, they are often irreversible. Exposure to secondhand smoke is very hazardous to a child. In addition, when children see an adult smoking, the temptation to copy that behavior is great.

Avoid, When Possible, Using Antibiotics

Parents often urge their pediatricians to prescribe antibiotics to quickly treat an illness. This is not a good idea. First of all, most childhood illnesses are caused by viruses and antibiotics are effective only against illnesses caused by bacteria. Secondly, overexposure to antibiotics can lead to bacteria becoming antibiotic-resistant which in turn makes the treatment for the illness far more complicated.

Also Read: Paediatric Care – Choosing the Right Hospital

Stay Updated with Vaccinations

There are many myths circulating about the dangers of vaccinations. They are false. Over the years, there has been irrefutable proof that vaccines help give a child immunity from many diseases including measles, chicken pox, polio and more. If you have any doubts about the need for vaccination or about the effectiveness of vaccinating your child, talk to a pediatrician who will give you the best advice and guidance so that you can protect your child’s health.

Keeping children in a bubble that isolates them from the health challenges of the outside world is wrong. This only serves to reduce their natural immunity and makes them more susceptible to sickness. Allowing children to be children and accepting the minor health issues that arise, along with developing good health habits will give them the immunity to face the health challenges that will inevitably confront them throughout their lives. To learn more about your child’s health status and to find out if there are any precautions you should take, go to the pediatric department of a multispecialty hospital. This is where the best pediatricians along with world-class medical technology and services can be found which will offer the child the best health protection and care. In case there are medical problems that require specialized treatment, all that may be required will be available at the various specialized departments of the hospital, making holistic treatment and care simpler and more effective.

Education is a vital component of a child’s development. Understanding the principles of good health is an essential part of growing into healthy, productive and successful adults.


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