Immune Boosting for Kids (and big kids)

Wednesday, June 3, 2015 1:25:07 PM Pacific/Auckland

 By Kim Bulder, Naturopath & Medical Herbalist

Does anyone else have a house full of snotty noses and sore throats right now? 

The winter bugs have struck early in New Zealand, and as you probably know the bugs kids bring home from school or daycare can take down the whole family.  

While the bugs will always be out there, the trick is taking good care of ourselves so our immune system can do what it’s supposed to and fight back.

Some plain and simple lifestyle essentials to stay healthy (kids and adults alike)

Get enough sleep – during sleep is when we repair and regenerate.  Insufficient or poor quality sleep means our immune defences are impaired and we are more like to succumb to bugs that we may otherwise have been able to fight off.

Eat plenty of nutrient packed fresh foods – homemade smoothies and soups are a great way to sneak a whole variety of fresh fruit, veges and quality protein into even the fussiest eaters.  Get the kids involved, if they help make it they tend to be more inclined to eat it! Let food be thy medicine...

Laugh – might sound like strange immune boosting advice but laughter has been shown to decrease stress and improve immune function.  And it’s just plain fun to do.

What if all that sleep, soup and laughter doesn’t work?

Sometimes we just get sick.  It happens.  If at all possible, now is the time to take time off work or school and ask for help so you can rest and recover.  But continue with the sleep, soup and laughter – they’re just as important for recovery as they are for wellness!

Some simple home remedies can also be of help.

Medsafe advise that many cough medications are not safe for children under 6 years of age (click here for more information) so traditional home remedies can be helpful.

Honey  is a traditional soothing favourite, suitable for adults and children over 1 year of age.  Even the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends honey and lemon drinks, and in a trial comparing honey to cough medicine parents rated honey better

Mix manuka honey, lemon, cinnamon and some freshly grated ginger with warm water and you have a honey and herb hot toddie that packs a healthy punch.

Salt water gargle – ¼-½ teaspoon of pure sea salt or rock salt dissolved in a cup of warm water and gargled regularly can help soothe a scratchy sore throat (it might be easier to get the kids to take a warm manuka honey drink than gargle salt water though!)

And don’t forget to stay hydrated (see aforementioned honey drink, smoothies and soups; don’t drink the salt water gargle!) and rest, rest, rest - getting sick is your body telling you it needs help.

See our range of winter wellbeing products for kids and adults

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