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Does your child have yet another cold or ear infection, a constant runny nose or an annoying cough?  Having a sick child is certainly not fun and on top of that, it can impact on the health and wellbeing of the whole family. Whether it’s due to sleepless nights, sickness spreading through the whole family, or needing time off school or work, it can take its toll. It is vital for children’s health especially their immune systems to be in tip top shape to deal with whatever bugs are thrown their way, be it bacteria, viruses or allergens.  So, if your kids are getting sick with regular colds and flus, or are susceptible to wheezing or sneezing, make it a priority to boost up their immunity.

The good news is that certain herbs and nutrients play an important role in building robust immunity in children.  Be prepared, as prevention is better than cure.  If your child does get sick, a strong immune system will also reduce the severity of their cold symptoms, help to speed their recovery and with less days home sick.  Some of my favourite key natural medicines work by providing symptomatic relief, as well as addressing underlying immune imbalances.

  • Albizia: Has anti-allergy properties helpful for asthma and sinus congestion. It also strengthens the lungs and clears mucus.
  • Astragalus: possesses anti-viral activity and assists in the prevention and treatment of colds and flus.
  • Olive leaf: is well known for its anti-microbial action, assisting to fight bacteria and viruses.
  • Vitamins C, D and zinc: These nutrients provide the building blocks of the immune system and play a crucial role in regulating immunity, yet they are commonly deficient in children. Vitamin C boosts the immune system, improves lung function and decreases allergy symptoms, whereas Vitamin D may enhance the immune response to bacteria and viruses.

A Balanced and Healthy Digestive System

Did you know that the digestive system is a close friend to the immune system? In fact, approximately 70% of the immune system lives in the digestive tract. This means that taking good care of your children’s digestive health will also assist in promoting a strong, healthy immune system. During the first two years of life, the immature immune and digestive systems are still developing. During this time, the integrity of the digestive tract can be reduced (sometimes known as “leaky gut”), and may allow undigested foods and toxins to pass through this barrier and cause an immune reaction. In this way, “leaky gut” may contribute to the development of allergies and poor immune defence against colds and flus. By strengthening the gut barrier, the immune system is able to respond with greater effectiveness. Healthy detoxification can also build a happier digestive system.

Bring in the Good Bugs

Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that are important in keeping the digestive system in balance and supporting a healthy immune system.  Theuy help to optimise digestive function through encouraging the growth of healthy gut flora, whilst reducing the number of bad bacteria responsible for digestive upsets and ill health.  Probiotics are particularly needed after a curse of antibiotics, to replenish the beneficial gut flora wiped out by these medications and reduce the risk of digestive symptoms such as antibiotic-associated diarrhoea.

Diet and Lifestyle Suggestions

There are many dietary and lifestyle tips that can support strong immunity in kids:

  • Increase fresh fruits and vegetables, protein and healthy fats as part of a well-balanced diet.
  • Reduce inflammatory foods such as sugar, white breads, dairy, cakes and soft drinks that may suppress immune function.
  • Ensure children are getting enough rest, as sleep is vital to support healthy immunity.
  • Encourage more ‘green time’ and less ‘screen time’. Outside play can help strengthen the immune system, as well as support healthy physical development.
  • Talk to your Practitioner about food or environmental triggers that may be exacerbating your child’s condition. Common food allergens include gluten, wheat, dairy, soy, eggs and corn.

If you want the best for your children’s health with less sickness and more fun and play, call Feeling Healthy today on 9687 5333.  Find out what steps you can take to strengthen your child’s immunity.  These may include improving digestion, following a healthy diet and lifestyle and using specific immune enhancing herbs and nutrients.

Rebecca Screen,
Naturopath, Health Coach & That Sugar Film Ambassador

For almost 20 years Rebecca Screen has worked with children and their parents to achieve the best health possible.  As a Naturopath and Health Coach she has a “keep it simple” approach to treating kids.  Treatment is aimed at breaking the cycle and treating the cause, as well as the symptoms.  Rebecca has two children and has experienced firsthand the many benefits of using natural medicine, whilst also understanding the issues parents face in regards to their children’s health care.