Do you really need to “ask your doctor” if this or that patent medicine is right for you? The idea of taking a pill for everything is a relatively new one. To some extent, it is a creation of a marketing machine that sells us all kinds of things day in and day out. It is the medical equivalent of being invited to “lather, rinse and repeat”! Your doctor has an important role to play in your family’s wellness, but that doesn’t mean you are helpless – far from it!
I believe that we need to regain some faith in the amazing and complex immune system that children have. All of us living today are the product of the incredible success of human immunity, evidence of what can go right if we only give it a chance. Whatever happened to the familiar adage “Rest, and drink plenty of liquids”? Good old-fashioned bed-rest is often all that is needed to support the hard work of our immune system to neutralize and dispose of most viral pathogens. Unfortunately, in our fast-paced modern lifestyle, nobody seems to have time to be sick anymore!
With that in mind, here are some simple things you can do to help kids avoid falling ill too often with colds and flu that are part and parcel of spending all day in school or day-care.
These are essential for proper immunity. You might be surprised to know that ‘friendly’ gut bacteria are responsible for about 80% of the immune activity in your child’s body. Eating fermented foods was the historical way to get lots of these good bacteria, but most of us don’t include a serving of these 3 times every day as we did in the years before refrigeration. In addition, if your child has ever had even one course of antibiotics, they need more help in this department than foods can provide. Offer a good quality “human strain” probiotic such as HMF Baby, Toddler, Child or Fit for School at least once if not twice a day and increase at the first sign of illness.
OMEGA 3 OILS
These are known as “essential fatty acids”, essential to our diet because we can’t make these acids, we must eat them. For meat eaters, the best sources are fish oil. There are numerous varieties that are flavoured and can be taken right off the spoon or crunched in capsules. Vegetarians may prefer flax seed or algae. Both Nordic Naturals and NutraSea produce vegetarian omega-3 supplements suitable for children. The DHA in omega-3 oils helps nourish the brain for learning, mood and behaviour and assists in helping absorb lots of other nutrients, so it really is an ‘essential’ part of everyone’s diet.
The sunshine vitamin has been identified as the single most important key to boosting immunity to the flu and seasonal colds. Most of us living in a northern climate are chronically deficient in vitamin D and can use a significant boost to get to an acceptable level in the bloodstream. This supplement is readily available in drops that really have no taste and can be given on a spoon.
These are wonderful for children because they taste sweet and melt immediately in the mouth. The ones that work together well for immunity are Ferrum Phos 6X and Kali Mur 6X. Give two of each twice a day through the winter season to protect in case of inflammation (like fever) and thick mucus such as runny nose or stubborn cough. This can be used by infants and toddlers as well as older kids.
St. Francis Herbs makes a product called “Deep Immune Kids” that many of my clients swear by. It is a combination of two herbs well known in Traditional Chinese Medicine for their adaptogenic qualities, helping our body be more resilient in dealing with disease organisms. It tastes pretty good so kids don’t mind taking it. You can offer this throughout the cold and flu season, or just use it if there is something going around the classroom or daycare. This is recommended for kids from age 2 up.
These are just a few basic suggestions but ones I highly recommend for a busy family. Feel free to contact me for more specific advice.