Children's Health

Give your kids a boost: Ways to improve immunity

Give your kids a boost: Ways to improve immunity

The key to a healthy child is a healthy immune system. Boosting your kid’s immune system will provide a powerful natural defense against illnesses and diseases. It is as if we have our own personal army inside ready to defend against germs and viruses.  Granted it is impossible to make children germ proof, but with these tips you will be equipped in boosting and protecting your child’s immune system:

  • Exercising regularly.
    Are your children getting enough exercise during the day? Regular exercise is one of the pillars of healthy living. The American Academy of Pediatrics highlights the benefits of regular exercise, noting that exercise reduces the likelihood of developing diabetes, gives you more energy, and flushes bacteria from the lungs and airways. A moderate program can consist of bicycling with your children a few times a week, taking daily 20 to 30 minute walks, going to the gym every other day, and or playing a type of sport that requires physical activity.
  • Improving diet.
    Healthy immune system warriors need good, regular nourishment. A diet that supports a healthy immune system is key for maintaining a fulfilled life. The AAP suggest that vitamins A, C and E, probiotics, and soluble fiber all help build up immune cells that help boost the immune system.  Serving more fruits and vegetables is a sure way to boost your kid’s immune system. Some quick immunity boosting snacks include walnuts, yogurt, carrots, berries, broccoli, and beans. Also, remember that processed foods, sugar, and soda can weaken the immune system and should be consumed in moderation.
  • Boosting sleep time.
    Lack of sleep not only plays a role in whether we come down with a cold or flu, but it also influences how we heal and fight illnesses. Sleep is recognized for restoring and healing the body. Harvard Health suggest that studies of children show sleep deprivation can make you more susceptible to illness by reducing natural killer cells. The amount of sleep needed rises the younger a child is. The recommended hours of sleep for kids ages 12-18 is about 8-9 hours per day.  Kids ages 7-12 should sleep for 10-11 hours. Kids ages 3-6 should sleep for about 10-12 hours and kids ages 1-3 should sleep 12-14 hours per day. 
  • Breast-feeding your baby.
    Breast milk supplies the factors necessary to protect your baby against disease. According to Parents Magazine, breast milk can contain turbo-charged immunity-enhancing antibodies and white blood cells that help promote a strong immune system. Nursing can guard against ear infections, allergies, diarrhea, pneumonia, meningitis, urinary-tract infections, and sudden infant death syndrome. 
  • Washing your hands regularly.
    Guarding kids against the spread of germs is key. Although, fighting germs doesn’t technically boost immunity it does help relieve stress on the immune system.  Parents Magazine suggest that parents should monitor their kid’s habits of hygiene particularly before and after each meal, after handling pets, and after playing from outside. Encourage your kids to make an effort to protect themselves from the spread of germs.

From newborns to adolescents, kids come first at Children’s Hospital of Georgia. To find out more visit augustahealth.org/chog or call 706-721-KIDS (5437) to make an appointment for your child today.

Sources: [health.hardvard.edu], [Parents Magazine] [parents.com], [The American Academy of Pediatrics]

About the author

Children's Hospital of Georgia

Children's Hospital of Georgia

Children’s Hospital of Georgia is the only facility in the area dedicated exclusively to children. It staffs the largest team of pediatric specialists in the region who deliver out- and in- patient care for everything from common childhood illnesses to life-threatening conditions like heart disorders, cancer and neurological diseases.

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