6 Natural Ways to Boost Your Child’s Immune System During Flu Season

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It is winter and cold and flu season has officially begun meaning parents need to start thinking about practical ways to help boost their children’s immune systems so they can stay healthy and happy during the winter. Plenty of natural ways exist to help your children strengthen their immune system.

Here are a few natural methods for boosting your child’s immunity during cold and flu season.

Teach good hygiene

Children are always getting into something. Digging in yards, wiping their noses, and touching other kids. Let’s face it kids can be dirty. One of the main ways young children catch the cold or flu is by close interaction with other kids. Germs spread quite easily so a simple touch of the hand or a toy that someone has coughed on can spread germs. Teach your child to wash their hands before eating, after playing, after using the restroom, and after just being around people. With small children constantly putting their hands to their mouth it is important to keep the fingers clean. Washing hands can kill many forms of bacteria that cause illness which will help prevent colds from forming.

Elderberry

Elderberry is one of the most effective and commonly used natural immune boosters. Elderberry helps fight viruses and is full of antioxidants that are key to fighting off infection.

Elderberry is usually infused into a syrup that is sweetened making it easy for kids to take because it tastes good. Elderberry is best used at the onset of an illness, but a small daily dose of elderberry is an easy way to boost your kids’ immune system.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is something I typically recommend during cold and flu season for immune system health. It is helpful for modulating the immune system. Low vitamin D levels are associated with increased risk and severity of illness. Vitamin D exposure mostly comes from the sun, but I recommend using a supplement even in sunny regions of the country because many people don’t metabolize the vitamin D from sunlight due to use of sunscreen and covering of the skin.

Zinc

Zinc is a mineral that is important in the development of immune cells. It helps fight infection and improve immune system function. There is research that shows it can decrease the duration of cold and flu symptoms if it is taken within the first 24 hours of infection.

I recommend that children usually supplement zinc during cold and flu season, unless they eat large amounts of foods containing zinc, such as shellfish, meat, egg yolk, and some legumes.

Get enough sleep

Having a good night of sleep is one of the best ways for your child to boost their immune system. While they sleep, their body repairs itself from the tasks of the previous day. It also allows the body to create white blood cells that fight infection that fight off bacteria and viruses. Be sure your child is getting enough sleep at night so their body can repair itself for each coming day.

Don’t forget the Vitamin C

Vitamin C is important for increasing the production of white blood cells, which helps young bodies fight infections. Vitamin C is naturally found in citrus fruits like, oranges, kiwi, strawberries, and vegetables like bell peppers, broccoli, and dark leafy greens. Children can also safely take a supplement of vitamin C daily throughout cold and flu season.

This year’s cold and flu season could be a stressful one, but families can be proactive in fighting against infection by implementing a diet full of immune-boosting and vitamin rich food and supplements. As always, if your child is showing symptoms of the flu or cold contact your personal physician.

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