The immune system is responsible for fighting off viruses and other infections. But, for children with compromised immune systems or other preexisting conditions that impact the system, this isn’t always the case. Developing a child’s immune system begins from the moment they’re born and can be strengthened as they develop. Even children who are seemingly healthy may need a boost. But, how can you give their immune system the boost it needs? And, are there natural ways to do it?
10 Ways to Boost Your Child’s Immune System
One of the earliest ways to improve your child’s immune system is through breastfeeding. That’s because breast milk provides immune-boosting antibodies, which result in fewer allergens. Some benefits also include boosting your baby’s brainpower. Breastfeeding can occur for the first six months of your child’s life before you should begin weaning.
2. Sleep Patterns
Sleep plays a pivotal role in the development of your child. From the moment they’re born to their teenage years, sleep can help reduce stress and give their body the rest it needs to fight off diseases. By establishing a regular bedtime, you can ensure that your child gets the amount of sleep they need to fight off germs and promote healthy brain development.
3. Avoid Unnecessary Antibiotics
Antibiotics are the ideal medication for removing infections, but the CDC estimates that 30% of antibiotic prescriptions are unnecessary. Where this becomes a problem is when antibiotics wipe out not only the bad bacteria but also the beneficial bacteria in the gut microbiome. If your child’s pediatrician prescribes antibiotics, you should find out how necessary they are and whether or not your child’s natural immunity could take care of the problem instead.
Sleep, staying hydrated, and eating the right kinds of food are some of the most common ways to cure most minor ailments. That same goes for boosting your child’s immune system. Probiotic-rich foods such as yogurt or sauerkraut can boost the good bacteria in the gut. And, leafy greens — such as broccoli, brussel sprouts, kale, and spinach — can add more B-vitamins to fuel the methylation that powers your child’s ability to process and eliminate pollutants. If you want to include these types of foods in your child’s diet, make sure to check the sugar content to ensure that you aren’t accidentally feeding your child more sugar for the sake of boosting their immune system.
It’s important for a child to get exercise — whether it’s kicking a ball and running outside or stretching and practicing yoga indoors. Not only does this help lower their risk of obesity, but playing in the sun gives their immune system valuable vitamin D. If your child has diabetes or other conditions that lower their white blood cells, outside exposure can help relieve symptoms and increase their white blood cell count.
6. Good Hygiene
From the time they start walking until they’re young adults, children tend to touch everything. While most of these surfaces are fairly clean, there are many that aren’t. That’s why it’s important that you teach your child the importance of handwashing when they’re young. Proper handwashing can reduce the risk of germs and other bacterial infections. By reducing the number of germs your child comes into contact with, you can strengthen their immune system to fight another day.
7. Avoid Secondhand Smoke
Smoking can cause a variety of breathing and lung problems for the person smoking, but secondhand smoke can also impact your loved ones. If you or a family member smokes, make sure that they do so outside and away from your child. For children who are immunocompromised, their lungs may be more susceptible to the effects of secondhand smoke. By avoiding smoke, you can reduce the likelihood of putting your child’s health at risk.
Throughout your child’s life — from infancy to early adulthood — their doctor may suggest a variety of vaccines to prevent different diseases. While the most common include measles, polio, mumps, and chickenpox, there are others, like the flu shot, that you may be more skeptical about including in your child’s treatment plan. It’s important that your child receives these vaccines not only for the sake of their immune system but also so that they don’t further damage any preexisting asthma or chronic health problems.
If you have a picky eater or if your child has a condition that makes it difficult to eat solid foods, vitamins are a great way to get their immune system the assistance it needs to fight off infections and germs. Gummy vitamins often taste better and feel like more of a snack to your child, but they can also be filled with added sugars. You should talk to your child’s pediatrician to see what the best option of vitamins is for them.
10. Essential Oils
By themselves, essential oils aren’t an alternative to modern medicine, but they can help boost your child’s immune system in addition to getting plenty of sleep and eating proper nutrients. Oils such as eucalyptus and oregano may have antibacterial and immune-modulating properties that can help your child feel energized. And, some essential oils can be added to meals to enhance the flavor and make them more enticing to picky eaters. Make sure to talk to your child’s pediatrician before implementing essential oils into their routine.
Contact Care Options for Kids for Home Health Care in Florida
It can be hard to balance your time between work, home, and caring for a child. That’s why our team of professionals at Care Options for Kids are here to help.
Our home care services offer support in the comfort of your home. We refer loving and competent nurses to provide customized care for families — from a few hours a day to around-the-clock supervision. Contact us directly to speak with a home health care professional or request a free in-home assessment. Together we can determine the best plan of action to keep your loved ones happy and healthy.
If you or a loved one are considering Pediatric Home Health Care Services in Florida, contact the caring staff at Care Options for Kids. Call today at (888) 592-5855.