If your littles ones are prone to getting sick a lot, you’re probably desperate for ways to help them to fight back. Not least because they’ll often spread it around the rest of the family too!
Kids tend to fall ill pretty often as their immune systems haven’t been exposed to all of the nasty germs that they’ll come into contact with. That doesn’t mean that you can’t improve their immunity and make them a bit less likely to get sick so often. Here are some tips to boost your family’s immunity.
Serve Up Immunity Boosting Foods
Lots of fruits and vegetables are great for boosting immunity, especially ones that contain vitamin C. This is one of the nutrients that isn’t stored in the body so you need to be consuming it every day for the best benefits.
Citrus fruits are a great choice so make sure that your family are eating plenty of oranges, mandarins and grapefruit. Capsicums are also a good source of vitamin C (especially the red variety) and actually contain more than citrus fruits! Kiwi and papaya also contain vitamin C.
Iron is another nutrient to pay close attention to. Stock up on spinach, legumes, quinoa, dates, dried apricots and pumpkin seeds to keep your family’s iron intake up. Red meat and liver are also a rich source of iron to complement these everyday sources. Combining iron with vitamin C helps it to be absorbed more easily.
Zinc is also an underrated mineral for immunity. You can find zinc in shellfish, pumpkin seeds, beef, cashews, chickpeas, oatmeal and chicken.
Other foods and drinks that can improve your family’s immunity include:
- Garlic has been used to treat infections for thousands of years
- Ginger is anti inflammatory and can help to fight a sore throat and ease nausea
- Spinach and broccoli, which both contain lots of antioxidants
- “Live” yogurt may be able to protect against illness by improving gut health and making your immune system stronger
- Almonds contain vitamin E, which is a hugely underrated nutrient for keeping the immune system healthy
- Green tea is packed with a EGCG, a powerful antioxidant that has been linked to better immunity
Hand Washing is Vital
A lot of the time, sickness happens because germs on the hands have been transferred to the eyes, mouth or nose. This is why it’s so important to wash your hands regularly and make sure that your family do too, especially before eating. Hand hygiene is one of the best things you can do for reducing illness, especially if it’s done in the right way.
If your little ones are at daycare, you’ll want to know that this also extends to the staff too as they can inadvertently pass on germs too, especially when they’re changing nappies and dealing with runny noses!
For those times when it’s just not practical or possible to keep hands clean, carrying hand sanitizer is a must! It’s super convenient for killing germs while you’re out and about and you can get alcohol free types if you’re worried that it will lead to dry hands. A positive to come out of COVID, hand sanitizer is just about everywhere you go nowadays – use it when you can!
Practice Good Hygiene in General
It’s also helpful to teach children how to demonstrate good hygiene in general. This includes not sharing food, drinks, utensils and other items that can make it easier for germs to be passed around.
Another tip involves making sure that your little ones know the importance of using tissues to wipe runny eyes or noses, rather than their hands or sleeves. This makes it a lot less likely that they’ll transfer germs from their hands to these areas. Just make sure it’s always a clean tissue!
Wipe Down Surfaces Regularly
Surfaces can be a breeding ground for germs so it makes sense to wipe them down regularly with an antibacterial cleaner. The same goes for anything that your child is likely to come into contact with such as toys, television remotes, light switches and door handles.
When one of the family is sick, you’re probably going to want to use antibacterial wipes on everything they touch to reduce the chance that anyone else will get ill from touching the same things.
Wash Bedding and Blankets When Someone is Sick
Next time any member of the family gets sick, make sure that you wash their bedding as soon as they’re better so they don’t get reinfected. Don’t forget about comfort blankets and towels too. These can harbor germs long after the original sickness has been and gone and they can make other members of the family sick too.