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5 Tips for Boosting your Child's Immune System


At this time of year, every bug in the world seems to be doing the rounds at schools, and parents then take it to the work place and spread it around there as well.  Coughs, colds, Noro-virus-type infections – you name it, every year someone’s got it.  Combine this with the now widely acknowledged fact that childhood allergies are on the increase, and you have a strong argument for doing all you can to boost your child’s immunity as studies have shown part of this rise may be due to parents’ tendency to protect their child from all allergens and sources of infection.

While I am not suggesting that we should abandon all efforts at good hygiene, creating a hyper-clean, hypo-allergenic environment for ourselves is going to cause more problems than it solves in the longer term.

So this week I thought I’d share with you 5 tips for boosting your child’s immunity – and your own!

  1. Research shows that good health depends to a large degree on maintaining a diverse community of microbes in our bodies.  Giving children a varied diet helps build this diversity and contributes to a healthy gut, while also making sure they are getting all the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients they need for healthy growth.

  2. Microbial exposure is essential for strengthening the immune system, so don’t insist on endless hand-washing.  Obviously, was hands after using the toilet and going on public transport, and before eating, but not after playing outside.

  3. Get children outdoors.  They now spend half as much time in the open air as children did 20 years go, which means they are being exposed to far fewer outdoor microbes.  It will also help reduce the chance of infection with the latest cold-virus doing the rounds, as they tend to flourish in the warm, enclosed spaces of our schools and homes.

  4. Avoid antibacterial soaps which have been found to have no benefits over regular soap and could be contributing to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

  5. Get a dog.  Studies have found that children exposed to dogs early in life have a decreased risk of developing asthma and allergies including eczema.

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