By Siobhán Carroll – BA; Dip Nat; Dip Herb; MANP; MGNC
You’ve survived six or more weeks of keeping them amused through the summer holidays, now prepare to do battle with… the classroom.
A potential breeding ground for bugs and germs, it can be quite a formidable foe. No sooner have you nursed your child through one illness than another comes along, with research suggesting that families with children in school can be affected by as many as 12 colds a year.
Thankfully there’s plenty you can do to outmanoeuvre those germs and boost your children’s defences.
Good hygiene is half the battle. Germs can pass quickly from one child to another, either by direct touch or by touching contaminated objects. Once on their hands they are easily transferred to their mouths. Help reduce the potential spread of infection by encouraging your children to wash their hands regularly and thoroughly, especially after every visit to the bathroom and before eating or preparing food.
Regular exercise, preferably outside in the fresh air, can also help to strengthen the immune system. According to a 2019 research review, moderate-intensity exercise was found to stimulate cellular immunity by increasing the circulation of immune cells. This helps our bodies better prepare for a future infection by detecting it earlier.
A herbal favourite for immune health is Echinacea purpurea. It is well-documented for its immune-supportive properties and can help to fight the symptoms of colds and flu. Echinaforce Chewable Cold & Flu tablets are suitable for children over the age of 12 and are easier to take than drops or conventional tablets. With their zesty orange flavour they taste great too.
Vitamin C, as is the case for adults, is also really important. There are plenty of delicious ways to get vitamin C into your child’s diet – think oranges, strawberries, kiwi fruit, broccoli and other green veggies; and if they won’t eat them whole, you can always blend your vit C-laden gems into a delicious fruit and veg smoothie. Alternatively, a chewable vitamin C for kids can help to keep this vital vit topped up. Try A.Vogel’s Nature-C for Kids, which is rich in naturally occurring, more easily absorbed vitamin C from real fruits, and suitable for children as young as 4.
Vitamin D3 is also important for immune health, so increase supply where necessary. A good, child-friendly multi-vit can help to do this, as can a vitamin D supplement.
Look after their tummies. A live bacteria supplement designed for children is especially worth bearing in mind if your child has recently finished a course of antibiotics, which as well as fighting bad bacteria also destroy good bacteria in the gut.
Say no to sugar! Perhaps easier said than done but definitely worth the tantrums. Added to sugar’s list of misdemeanours you can also include the effect it has on the immune system, namely, it has been shown to suppress the immune system, so keep sweets to a minimum or try substituting with a piece of dried fruit.
Finally, a good night’s sleep is hugely important. It’s when the body rejuvenates itself, replenishing lost materials and repairing wear and tear. Inadequate sleep can dampen the body’s resistance to illness and infection, so make sure your child is fully rested.
For further information on children’s health, contact Siobhán Carroll by email.
Siobhán Carroll is a fully qualified clinical Herbalist and Naturopath based in Ireland. She runs her own clinic in Co. Clare and online via her website nerdynaturopath.com. She has 10 years of experience in the field of natural health, she also teaches yoga and meditation and is a lecturer at the College of Naturopathic Medicine.
Siobhán is also a cold-water sea swimmer, a loving mum and a massive Harry Potter fan. She has a deep connection with plants and is passionate about empowering people to look after their own health using the healing powers of nature.
Siobhán Carroll BA; Dip Nat; Dip Herb; MANP; MGNC
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