By Matthew Imerhion
The immune system is a network of cells, tissues, and organs working together to defend the body against the several harmful microorganisms like bacteria and viruses, encountered on a daily basis which cause infections and diseases. In children, this system is still immature, making them more susceptible to falling ill.
Here are ten simple ways to equip your child’s body with what it takes to guard itself against these foreign invaders:
1. Exercise Your Right to Health
As you may already know, exercise keeps the body and heart fit enough to withstand the attacks of viruses and bacteria. It also helps the body produce offensive T-cells that track and kill invading microbes. An expert says, “go out and exercise with them (your kids) rather than just urging them to ‘go out and play.’” Play throw-and-catch with a ball or Frisbee, race along the beach in your bare feet, ride bicycles and play soccer. An average of one hour of active activity per day will do you lots of good.
2. The Wonders of Slumber
Research shows that while sleeping, the body relaxes, regenerates and renews worn out cells. Experts say lack of sleep reduces the production of special proteins called cytoklines which combat inflammations, infections and reduces stress.
Researches also show that sleep deprivation disrupts the functions of special genes that help in digesting food. This may lead to obesity and weaken the heart. Children have longer sleep needs than adults. Help them unleash the wonders of sleep, by setting siesta and bedtime routines. This can be a challenging task but as Doctor Kathi Kemper, Director at a children’s Hospital in Boston advises, “If your child can’t or won’t take naps during the day, try to put her to bed earlier.”
3. Veggies and Fruity Fortresses
It’s common knowledge that vegetables and fruits are priceless to our health; it’s even more essential to a child’s developing immune system. Colourful fruits and vegetables like oranges (very rich in vitamin C which fights infections like common cold), berries, tomatoes, carrots, cabbage, apples, grapes, cantaloupe, eggplants and sweet potatoes (to name a few) contain phytonutrients. These increase the fighting capacity of the immune system.
Fruits like oranges, strawberry and apples are sweet and more acceptable to children than vegetables like celery and cabbage. Find creative ways to make your children not only eat but enjoy fruits and veggies. Discover lots of healthy homemade recipes that will foster this.
4. Germ Buster
Realistically, you cannot totally keep germs from getting into your children’s bodies. Nevertheless, parents can assist in keeping infectious diseases at bay by paying particular attention to their children’s level of hygiene, for instance teaching them to form a habit of washing their hands after play as well as before and after meals, really helps.
Drinking plenty of water helps to flush out harmful substances from the body.
5. Don’t Abuse Drugs
The benefits of antibiotics cannot be over emphasized. Yet, like the boring but profound saying goes, too much of anything is bad. Some parents who have experienced the cleansing capacity of antibiotics have become addicts. You know them; ampicillin, amoxicillin, ampiclox and all the others.
Wrong and prolonged use of antibiotics could cause ordinary bacteria to evolve into die-hard microbes that attack and crash your child’s immune system. In fact, they could weaken their immune system directly by attacking the ‘good’ bacteria in the intestines called probiotics. Probiotics are a community of bacteria that maintain body metabolism and the internal lining of the intestinal tract.
These antibiotics may attack friendly bacteria and leave your child’s intestine and immune system open for the ravaging pleasures of unfriendly bacteria. If you think there’s need for antibiotics, the best alternative remains consulting your doctor.