There are a number of ways parents can help give a boost to their child's immune system. The immune system helps us fight infections. Immunity develops over time, so the more someone gets exposed, the more the immune system develops. For kids, the whole environment is new, but over time, their immunity develops and gets better.
There are many ways that parents can help children minimize their risk of catching every infection that comes their way. Here are a few:
Breast-feeding: An important way to help your child develop a strong immune system is through breast feeding. During breast-feeding the mother's immunity transfers to the child and provides them with much-needed protection in the early years.
Vaccination: This is another crucial factor. Receiving all recommended vaccines prevents kids from catching potentially dangerous illnesses, such as whooping cough, measles, mumps, hepatitis and chicken pox. All children over 6 months of age should get a flu shot.
Healthy diet: Offer kids a healthy diet. Parents should make sure children receive balanced meals with lots of fruits and vegetables that contain antioxidants, vitamins and minerals essential for the immune system.
Sleep: Kids need sufficient sleep. If children are not well-rested, their bodies lose their natural defense mechanisms and have a tougher time fighting off illness.
Physical activity: Being physically active is also important. Getting plenty of exercise promotes better blood circulation. This helps the lungs and heart work better, which in turn boosts immunity.
Good hygiene: Habits such as regularly washing their hands and covering their coughs are simple good hygienic habits that young children should be encouraged to develop.
Smoke: Protect kids from cigarette smoke; like any allergen, secondhand smoke will harm a child's immunity. Kids who are exposed to cigarette smoke on a regular basis tend to develop respiratory infections.
Overuse of antibiotics: Avoid the misuse and overuse of antibiotics. When these drugs are overused, bacteria can develop resistance to them. So when your child catches a bacterial illness that would normally be treated with an antibiotic, the treatment may not work. Doctors now recommend that it is best to let most viral illnesses run their course, rather than attempt to treat them with antibiotics.