Tackling Childhood Immune Complaints
As every parent knows, having a sick child is certainly not fun
and on top of that, it can impact on the health and wellbeing of
the whole family. Whether it’s due to sleepless nights, sickness
spreading through the whole family, or needing time off
school or work, sickness can take its toll. It is vital for children’s
immune systems to be in tip top shape to deal with whatever
bugs are thrown their way, be it bacteria, viruses or allergens.
So if your kids are getting sick with regular colds and flus, or
are susceptible to eczema or wheezing or sneezing, then make
it a priority to boost up their immunity and bring them back
Itchy, Scratchy, Sneezy and Wheezy
Does this sound like the characteristics of someone in your
house? These complaints are common in many of our homes,
with more and more kids being prone to allergies, hayfever,
eczema or asthma, while others tend to pick up every bug
that’s going around. The good news is that certain herbs and
nutrients play an important role in building robust immunity
in children. These natural medicines work by providing
symptomatic relief naturally, as well as by addressing
underlying immune imbalances that can cause our kids to feel
under the weather:
• Albizia: The anti-allergy properties of the herb Albzia are helpful for hayfever, asthma, sinus congestion and allergic skin conditions such as eczema and hives. It also strengthens the lungs and clears mucus.
• Adhatoda: This Indian herb has been traditionally used for hayfever, asthma and coughs, and helps clear the lungs and open the airways.
• Astragalus: possesses anti-viral activity and assists in the prevention and treatment of colds and flus.
• Olive leaf: is well known for its anti-microbial action, assisting to fight bacteria and viruses.
• Vitamins C, D and zinc: These nutrients provide the building blocks of the immune system and play a crucial role in regulating immunity, yet they are commonly deficient in children. Vitamin C boosts the immune system, improves lung function and decreases allergy symptoms, whereas Vitamin D may enhance the immune response to bacteria and viruses.
Close Connection to Gut and Immunity
Did you know that the digestive system is a close friend to the
immune system? In fact, approximately 70% of the immune
system lives in the digestive tract. So this means that taking
good care of your children’s digestive health will also assist
in promoting a strong, healthy immune system. During the
first two years of life, the immature immune and digestive
systems are still developing. During this time, the integrity
of the digestive tract can be reduced (sometimes known as
“leaky gut”), and may allow undigested foods and toxins to
pass through this barrier and cause an immune reaction. In
this way, “leaky gut” may contribute to the development of
allergies and poor immune defence against colds and flus.
By strengthening the gut barrier, the immune system is able to
respond with greater effectiveness. Marshmallow, turmeric and
glutamine can help repair the mucus membranes throughout
the digestive tract due to their anti-inflammatory and soothing
properties. Zinc has been shown to improve digestion and is an
important factor in the regeneration of the gut lining. Healthy
detoxification can also build a happier digestive system, with
the help of St Mary’s thistle.
Bring in the Good Bugs
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that are important in keeping
the digestive system in balance and supporting a healthy
immune system. The results from a scientific study of 248
children in daycare aged three to five years, showed those
who consumed the probiotic strains, Lactobacillus acidophilus
NCFM and Bifidobacterium lactis Bi-07 daily, had significantly
less infections, shorter duration of cold and flu symptoms, and
less days absent from childcare. The most useful probiotic
for allergies is Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG®), which
has been found to be effective in reducing the symptoms of
eczema, allergic rhinitis and food allergy.
Diet and Lifestyle Suggestions
There are many dietary and lifestyle tips that can support
strong immunity in kids:
• Increase fresh fruits and vegetables, protein and healthy
fats as part of a well-balanced diet.
• Reduce inflammatory foods such as sugar, white breads,
dairy, cakes and soft drinks that may suppress immune
function and trigger reactions in sensitive children.
• Ensure children are getting enough rest, as sleep is vital
to support healthy immunity.
• Encourage more ‘green time’ and less ‘screen time’!
Outside play can help strengthen the immune system, as
well as support healthy physical development.
• Talk to your Practitioner about food or environmental triggers
that may be exacerbating your child’s condition. Common
food allergens include gluten, wheat, dairy, soy, eggs and corn.
Talk to us today
You are not alone when it comes to childhood conditions.
Children are constantly being exposed to bugs and viruses,
particularly when attending childcare or playing with other
children. Symptoms of asthma, eczema and allergies can also
strip kids of energy and cause disruption to the smooth running
of family life. Talk to your Practitioner today about what steps
you can take to boost your child’s immune system. These may
include improving digestion, following a healthy diet and lifestyle
and using specific immune enhancing herbs and nutrients. Build
up your kid’s immunity and set them up for a healthier, happier
2014 with less sickness and more fun and play!