The child’s immune system is more sensitive than that of an adult, and full immune capacity is achieved only at around 12 years of age. What can we do to support the process of shaping the immune system in a child? How to strengthen the toddler’s immunity and reduce the frequency of colds? We take popular methods under the magnifying glass and suggest!
Statistically, children who go to kindergarten or school and have daily contact with a peer group catch infections about 6-8 times a year (these are infections accompanied by a fever). If the child gets sick more often, it is worth to take diagnostic actions and consult the health condition of the toddler with a doctor – it may be a signal that he needs medical intervention.
Proper diet and hydration
It is the basis for the prevention of many diseases – important both in adults and children. However, children are more demanding in this respect because it is us, adults, who have yet to teach the little ones healthy habits and encourage them to make healthy choices in the future.
A child’s diet should be primarily varied and rich in vitamins and minerals. Vegetables, fruits, lean meat, dairy, fish, wholemeal bread, rice and groats should prevail in meals. Regularity is also an important factor – it is worthwhile to teach your child to eat at regular intervals, at more or less constant times.
“Get out a little!” – do you know this sentence from your childhood? It is said that an hour is the minimum time a child should spend every day away from home. It can be a walk, a playground or a bicycle trip. However, it is not about “fresh air”, but rather that the child’s body learns to react to and adapt to changes in temperature and weather.
Washing hands and teeth
This is undoubtedly one of the healthiest habits we can develop in a child. Hands should be washed especially before each meal, after a visit to the toilet. This should also be the first activity performed at home after returning from a walk. In this simple way we reduce the risk of infection with so called dirty hands diseases.
Should children be hardened? Yes, but remember that hardening does not necessarily mean cold showers and dressing too lightly for the weather. Colds occur when a child’s body is not used to cold because it focuses on defending itself against pathogenic microorganisms. The purpose of hardening is not to expose the child to sudden changes in temperature, but to show the small body different conditions, slowly and gradually, so that it can adapt to them.
Vitamins for immunity
Especially in the autumn-winter period, when we are more susceptible to colds and infections, the child’s diet should be enriched with preparations that support his or her immune system. What to give?
- Vitamin C – the most popular vitamin “for immunity”. It is a natural antioxidant, which means that it fights agricultural radicals and has a positive effect on innate and acquired immunity.
- Vitamin D – takes part in the activation of the immune response,
- Zinc – participates in the development, growth and activation of immune cells
- B-group vitamins – also affect the work of the immune system, take part in cell development,
- Probiotics – or “good bacteria” help to develop a proper bacterial flora that destroys the pathogens that will be found in the body.
- Elderberry, lime tree and raspberry juice syrups have a positive effect on the immune system and the functioning of the upper respiratory tract, which are very often the target of autumn and winter infections.
Sleep, regular life
For proper functioning and development, the child should sleep for a minimum. 8 hours a day. For sleep to be of good quality, the room in which the baby lies should be well ventilated and the optimal air temperature is 17-18°C.
A healthy daily routine consisting of a wake-up call at a certain time and balanced meals eaten in a regular rhythm, as well as a repetitive cycle of daily activities (they do not have to be monotonous!) help to avoid stress, which can reduce the child’s immunity.