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How to strengthen a child’s immune system in the spring. Tips from the family doctor

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Everyone knows the phrase “snotty childhood” brings a genuine smile to our faces and plunges us into a world of warm memories. And at the same time, it awakens in us the excitement and fear for the fragile body of children of school and preschool age.

This is the period of active acquaintance with new pathogenic microflora in kindergartens, schools and the gradual formation of immunity (full synthesis of immunoglobulins begins with 6-7 years, and the final formation of the immune system is approaching puberty). And the main task of parents is to help cope with the new immune load by providing all the necessary conditions to maintain health.

Seasonal exacerbation of colds in children is the end of winter and early spring, when sun activity is weak and little vitamin D is synthesized, and all the reserves of vitamins and nutrients in the body are exhausted. That is why it is very important during this period to protect your child from disease and strengthen immunity.

It is impossible to give any specific recommendations, following which the frequency of illnesses in children will decrease. General strengthening procedures (hardening, sports), a balanced diet, a healthy lifestyle of the family, refusal of parents from bad habits (smoking) are more important here.

The role of vitamins in children’s immunity

And if we talk about a “magic pill” – take it and you’re healthy, unfortunately, there is no such thing! Not a single complex “vitamin” or dietary supplement has yet had any effect on the duration of illness and reduction in the frequency of acute respiratory infections in children. Their effectiveness has not been proven.

Complex vitamins can be prescribed for children with certain gastrointestinal problems, but even in this case you need to look for a specific vitamin deficiency and make up for it. Everything else works as a “placebo”.

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There are individual vitamins and supplements that can help boost immunity:

Vitamin D – The main source is synthesis in the skin by UV exposure and to a lesser extent absorption with food. The recommendation for a prophylactic vitamin D intake for children from 1 year of age is 600 IU daily without interruption in the summertime, on a continuous basis.

Omega-3 – The only sources are foods (sea fish, mussels, caviar, flax seeds, eggs, dairy products, walnuts, soybeans, etc.).

If seafood and other sources of Omega-3 are not in the child’s diet, a course of supplementation may be recommended.

Important: The need and duration of a course of taking vitamin D and Omega-3 is prescribed by a doctor, focusing on the child’s health and diet.

Effects on immunity of antiviral drugs

Prophylactic administration of antiviral drugs, immunomodulators, and immunostimulants also will not have the desired effect. There is no evidence that they are effective. More than 200 species of acute respiratory viruses have been detected and it is impossible to know exactly which one we are treating with an antiviral medication.

With immunomodulators and immunostimulants, which are designed to modify and stimulate the immune system, there is the same ambiguity. It cannot be said with complete certainty that taking these drugs will promote the production of antibodies to a particular virus.

The work of the immune system is very complex in its structure and has not yet been fully studied. Therefore, uncontrolled taking of these drugs is fraught with serious consequences and can cause a violent reaction of the immune system in the form of allergies and autoimmune diseases.

In most cases (over 90%) of ARIs are caused by a virus, not a bacterium, so taking antibiotics will not be effective. There is a global problem with antibiotic resistance, which occurs with frequent and improper use of antibiotics when bacteria become resistant to antimicrobials.

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How else can you support your child’s immune system in the spring?

Negative factors affecting children’s immunity:

  • Stress;
  • Improper nutrition;
  • unsanitation;
  • physical overwork;
  • hypodynamia;
  • chronic illnesses.

Let’s break down each one in more detail.

Stress

Strong and prolonged stress depresses the functions of the immune system by blocking the production of antibodies in response to the pathogen in the body. Therefore, it is very important during the recovery period not to burden the child with studies, not to have conflicts with him or her and not to subject it to strong emotional outbursts (both negative and positive). Quiet, cooperative games, book reading, and walks in the fresh air are recommended.

Improper nutrition: fatty, heavy, poor and monotonous food (fast food, pastries, products with preservatives and flavor enhancers, etc.) lead to a lack of vitamins and nutrients in the child’s body, which negatively affects the synthesis of immune system cells, 80% of which are in the intestines.

Nutrition

Proper nutrition for children

Fractional and balanced meals 5-6 times a day (the child’s enzymatic system is not yet fully formed and is not able to digest a large amount of food in one sitting) and the presence of fruits and vegetables in the daily diet will have a positive effect on health. In the spring period, vitamin compotes from dried fruits, frozen berries and fruits are useful for strengthening children’s immunity.

Antisanitary

Washing hands with soap and water after a walk, before eating and after toileting significantly reduces the risk of acquiring a cold. Another factor that reduces immunity in children is worm infestation. Do not allow children to pick up objects in the street, touch stray animals, or play in the toilet. Damp-clean regularly and keep the humidity level (40-60%) in the child’s room. If the indoor air is too dry, it dries out the mucous membranes that protect the body from infectious agents.

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Physical overexertion.

It is very important that a child is not overworked during the day and has adequate sleep during the day and at night. And at night children should sleep 9-11 hours for proper development of the body. After all, while sleeping, children are developing physically. Frequent lack of sleep and overtime have a negative impact on mental and physical health of the child, and therefore on the immune system. This is where a properly built daily routine will help.

Hypodynamia

A sedentary lifestyle seriously affects the frequency of acute respiratory infections in children. Sitting at home, the baby becomes “hothouse” and prone to frequent colds outside the home. And exercise in the morning as a ritual, a walk in the fresh air twice a day saturates the body’s cells with oxygen, which increases resistance to infection. Daily walks even in rainy spring weather develop resistance to cold and damp air, drafts. Such children are less likely to get sick, unlike those who spend most of their time indoors.

Clothing for the season.

Don’t dress in “100 coats.” A running, active child in very warm clothes can easily sweat, get too cold and catch a virus. Listen to the rule of 3 layers: the first layer is thermal underwear that wicks away moisture, the second layer is a fleece warming jacket, and the third layer is a breathable, breathable jacket or windbreaker.

It is also helpful to gradually harden your child (you can start in the spring and continue until late fall). Take turns pouring cold (+-20) and then hot water (+-35) from palm to elbow, from foot to knee, daily for 5-7 minutes. And do not forget to ask your child if he is cold or hot. After all, adults and children have different sensitivities, and we feel cold or hot in different ways.

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Chronic illnesses

If a child is often ill with acute respiratory infections, it is necessary to determine whether he has nidus of chronic diseases (tonsillitis, maxillary sinusitis, dental caries, adenoiditis, etc.), which weaken the immune system. Frequently and prolongedly ill children must undergo a medical examination in order to select the correct tactics for the treatment of chronic diseases.

If a child has an acute respiratory infection without complications (bronchitis, pneumonia, otitis, cystitis, arthritis, meningitis, etc.) and passes in 7-10 days, then there is nothing to worry about.

The kid goes to kindergarten or school and gets sick once a month – it is normal (SARS from 7-10 times a year is considered acceptable). If a child gets sick more than 10 times a year for a long time and has complications after an acute respiratory infection – this is a serious cause for concern.

The most common causes of acute respiratory infections are influenza virus, adenovirus, enterovirus, and parainfluenza. There are also bacterial pathogens that join after a viral infection: pneumococcus, streptococcus, staphylococcus, Haemophilus influenzae. Vaccination against influenza, pneumococcal, hemophilus, meningococcal infections, etc. is recommended for children who are often and long term ill.)

Vaccination does not give an absolute guarantee that a child will not get sick, but vaccinated children get sick easier, without complications, and recover quickly.

Most of the above recommendations are quite easy to follow. As for taking various medications, special diet, of course it is better to consult a doctor, because you need to take into account the age of the child, the individual body and other factors.

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The articles on this site are for information purposes only. The site administrators are not responsible for attempting to apply any recipe, advice or diet, nor do they guarantee that the information provided will help or harm you personally. Be cautious and always consult a doctor or nutritionist!

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