Colds and other viruses are a fact of life for families with young kids. Children are born with inexperienced immune systems and they strengthen them by fighting a series of germs, viruses and other organisms as they grow older and develop.
At this time of the year, many families are looking for ways in which they can protect their child from yet another bout of illness. It is almost impossible to avoid completely, however, there are some healthy habits families can adopt that may help.
1.Serve more fruits and vegetables Fruit and vegetables contain important and essential nutrients that are important for a child’s health, growth and development. They all contain such immunity-boosting vitamins, minerals, and plant chemicals called phytochemicals. They can help to protect the body against some diseases including diabetes, stroke, heart disease, some cancers and high blood pressure or hypertension.
2. Focus on sleep time Sleep deprivation can make both adults and children more susceptible to illness. As a guide newborns and infants require 15-17 hours per day, toddlers 11-14 hours, primary school aged children 9-11 hours, teenagers 8-10 hours and adults 7-9 hours.
3. Incorporate regular exercise Get your children into a lifelong fitness habit, be a good role model. Get outdoors and enjoy fun family activities together.
4. Guard against germ spread. Encourage your kids wash their hands often and with soap. Pay particular attention to their hygiene before and after each meal, blowing their nose, using the toilet, and arriving home from daycare, preschool or school.
5. Banish secondhand smoke. Second-hand smoke increases a child’s risk of SIDS, bronchitis, ear infections, and asthma. If you do smoke, reduce your child’s health risks by smoking outside the house.
6. Where possible, breast-feed your infant. Breast milk contains immunity-enhancing antibodies and white blood cells. A mother passes on lots of proteins, fats, sugars and cells that work against infections when she breastfeeds her baby. For more detailed information on this visit the Australian Breastfeeding website https://www.breastfeeding.asn.au/bfinfo/breastfeeding-and-immunity