7 Steps to Increase Immunity in Children (With Prevention Guide)

I have been a very worried mother when it came to the health of my son Amiraj. If ever he got ill, I would just panic and take him to the best doctor available. And then the unpleasant process of forcing different medicines into my toddler’s mouth starts for at least a week. 

Gradually I noticed that he’s falling ill more often than his initial 1-2 years. Even the same medicine as prescribed by the same doctor would not cure him and the pediatrician had to change the prescription every time.

Juggling between medicines, cranky baby, home, work is not at easy if this goes once or twice a month. I just wanted to find the solution to his frequent illness. One thing I have observed is that my son’s immunity is low. 

But how can be his immunity low as I have followed every guidance of pediatrician since his birth including the required immunizations?

Then I researched about it and gathered some genuine information which I am going to share with you all as it will surely provide you some help if you are also sailing in the same boat.

Kids are born with a natural immunity that they acquire from their mothers through the placenta. Different vaccinations of infants also provide them immunity from diseases, but this immunity will get reduced with gradual growth and on exposure to other different viruses or bacteria.

And if the immune system is not strong enough, your kid will fall ill repeatedly.

We can apply the following steps to boost immunity in your child naturally.

#1. Avoid Unnecessary Medications

avoid unnecessary medications

Medications provide instant relief from any infection but also do not let a kid’s body become strong enough to fight infection on its own.

If there is an infection in the body, the immune system itself produces antigens to fight against it. Fever occurs due to the defense mechanism of the body against any infection. 

Medicines destroy good bacteria along with the bad bacteria in the body. And at one time, the body becomes dependent upon medications. 

Unless any serious disease or infection, to tackle common health issues such as cold, cough, constipation, diarrhea, bruises, and fever can be cured easily without any unnecessary medicines. You need not rush to the doctor for such health issues. 

Common cold or cough can be cured easily with regular steam inhalation as it will also provide some relaxation to the blocked mucous. Sufficient water intake, active routine, and nutritious diet together balance out minor abnormalities in the body easily.

#2. Breastfeed the Baby

Breastfeed the baby

Breastfeed is the natural immunity booster for newborns. The first milk that comes out of breasts after birth called Colostrum, is rich in antibodies immunoglobulins such as IgA, IgM, and IgG which is essential for a baby to fight against infections. The breastmilk is self-sufficient in all the nutrients required for the baby to grow, in the right amounts, and easy to digest.

When a mother develops an infection, her body produces additional antibodies that are transferred to her baby through breastfeeding and the child is prevented from the same infection.

A study done by Acta Paediatrica showed that the children who were breastfed for the first 6 months of their life developed protection against middle ear infections up to 2 years. The occurrence rate was reduced by 43%.

According to WHO, you need to breastfeed your baby exclusively for the first 6 months and to continuing supplemental breastfeeding along with solid foods for the first 2 years of your child’s life. However, you can extend further breastfeed as desired by both mother and child.

There is a new trend of Milk Sharing these days. It attributes to breastmilk sharing. Some lactating mothers can donate their milk to milk banks or their near or dear ones if there is a newborn whose mother is not able to breastfeed her child.

However, shared milk must be screened or pasteurized to make it germs-free. Also, the donating mother must not be consuming any drugs, as the effects of the medications do pass to the breast milk.

As we already know the importance of breast milk for infants, Breastmilk sharing is a blessing for the mothers who are not able to provide sufficient milk or are under some medications, or for the adopted babies or fostered babies.

#3. Exposure with Nature

expose-with-nature

Do try to take your kiddo to open parks or playgrounds for getting fresh air and Vitamin D. Vitamin D is very essential to build up immune strength. Fresh air rejuvenates each cell and improves cell functions.

Let them intermingle with soil, fall on grass, play freely barefoot, and get bruised. Germs and bacteria are present everywhere and when you expose your child to them, it prepares the child’s defense system against such germs and helps to build healthy bacteria.

Make your kids cherish their childhood, try to indulge them with nature. Let them bathe in rain, make paper boats, fly kites, water plants and play with pets. Such activities are just disappearing in today’s world due to modernization. Interaction with nature will also help reduce stress and build up a sense of empathy and care.

Video games or watching youtube videos are new unhealthy trends. Perils of such screening include weak eyesight and inactive child. The child, not only gets addicted to such screening but also leads to health conditions such as obesity and depression. This often leads to conditions such as social isolation or decreased patience.

#4. Maintain a Healthy Gut

improve gut health in kid

As said by our Ancestors a Healthy gut is the reason for a healthy body. This is rightly said as your gut is home to a variety of bacteria( healthy and unhealthy).  Prebiotics and probiotics in the gut are responsible for maintaining a balance between healthy and unhealthy bacteria. And if your gut is not healthy, it weakens your digestion, and also your immune system.

Appreciate the benefits of yogurt among your kids. You can add fruits or honey to yogurt and make it interesting for kids to eat with love. 

Some foods are also rich in prebiotics such as green bananas, yams, or asparagus. Probiotic-rich foods include fermented food such as pickles, kefir, or apple cider vinegar. Try to make these foods popular with kids.

Check out – Best peanut butter in India

#5. Provide a Good Sleep

provide a good sleep

Sleep is the time when your body repairs and regenerates itself. The immune system strengthens itself as cytokines( proteins necessary for immunity response) production increases when you sleep. 

Kids should have an uninterrupted 12-14 hours of sleep. If the body has received proper rest, it is can fight off infection better than a tired body.

Try to set a proper sleep routine for kids as it will set the circadian rhythm( natural biological clock). It enhances the immune system and also other biological processes of the body such as digestion and blood circulation. Most of the repair and regeneration takes place between 10 pm to 2 am during the night.

You can do a body massage, set warm a cozy environment, read a story, and dim lights to make kids sleep at the appropriate time.  Try to cut the outer e noises and screen time at least 1 hour before sleep.

#6. Promote Physical Activities

promote exercise with kids

The busy lifestyle of parents and even of children, because of tuitions or online classes, Covid lockdowns has lead to sedentary and indoor life. In his free time, the child is left with the only option of watching electronic media to recreate his mood. Also, work from home routines of parents sometimes makes it necessary for them to indulge their kid to watch television or use mobile phones.

In such a scenario, spending time with kids or playing together is a very good way to indulge in physical activity, which will also cheer mood and treat anxiety issues. It will strengthen the parent-child relationship. 

Exercise or playing a sport together is an interactive way of physical exertion that will increase blood circulation and enhance immune systems. You can fix an hour in a day to play or exercise, either indoors or outdoors.

 #7. Nutritious Diet Can Do Wonders

make foods fun to eat

We all are aware of the importance of a healthy diet. As parents, you always try to make your child eat more fruits and vegetables. Food rich in vitamins such as vitamin A, C, K, B, and D strengthens the immune response. 

Sometimes the daily diet may not fulfill the sufficient amount of such vitamins, therefore you need to supplement from other sources. Nuts and seeds including walnuts, flaxseeds, and chia seeds are rich in Omega 3 fatty acids which are very essential for a strong immune system. Citrus fruits such as oranges, kiwis, and lemons are a good source of vitamin C

Minerals such as zinc, potassium, and magnesium are abundantly available in bananas, avocados, and spinach.  Eggs are a good source of proteins and vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 helps in the absorption of iron, which is also essential for a good immune response. Other sources of iron include apples, raisins, and iron-fortified cereals.

Also read – best iron supplements in India

Prevention Is Better Than Cure

You cannot just stop any infection to build up in kids, however, you can try to prevent them by following the tips mentioned below.

  • Make it a habit of washing hands when kids come home after playing outdoors. 
  • Do make them wash their hands before a meal.
  • Just replace the junk food cravings with homemade snacks. 
  • Try to reduce sugar intake in kids.
  • Avoid secondhand smoke.
  • Make the living environment stress-free for kids. Spare some time for kids and get involved in positive discussions. Let them open up about their negative feelings if any and guide them as a friend. 

Conclusion

Natural ways to increase a child’s immunity are more effective and satisfying for kids as well as for a parent. What else a parent will need if his or her baby is healthy and playing all around in the home. 

Let’s make them strong internally so that can fight off their challenges on their own. A disease-free body and mind also develop a sense of confidence in kids, and they get to acknowledge their capabilities.

About Dr. Amita Dhawan

Dr. Amita is the editor-in-chief at HealthExpert and a mother of 4 years old son. She believes in the great possibilities to improve health with natural foods and organic supplements.

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