Nightingale Night Nurses 2-2020-144

6 Ways to Boost Your Family’s Immunity

We’re deep into respiratory season, and parents are totally over it. Between the flu, RSV, Covid, and rhinoviruses, there are seemingly bugs hiding around every corner! Babies and toddlers love to touch everything, and they’re experts at bringing viruses home to the whole family. This year many parents are asking, “how can I boost my family’s immunity?” Thankfully, there are several ways to boost your family’s immunity naturally. There are no magic ways to prevent illnesses across the board, but there are tried and true ways to lower your chances of getting sick by supporting the body’s natural ability to fend off illnesses. 

Get Good Rest

Sleep is crucial for overall health. Studies show that certain aspects of the immune response ramp up during sleep. It’s also been shown that sleep is essential for immune memory – boosting the body’s ability to remember and fight dangerous antigens it has encountered in the past. 

On the other hand, sleep deprivation is linked with poor immune response. In fact, research has indicated that people who don’t sleep the night after receiving a vaccine might have such a poor immune response that they require repeat immunization. 

Healthy Diet

A healthy diet goes a long way toward boosting the immune system. Avoid processed foods, added sugar, and excess saturated fats. Encourage fresh fruits and veggies, which are high in vitamins. About half of your toddler’s plate should be made up of fruits and vegetables. 

Speaking of vitamins, check with your child’s pediatrician about helpful vitamins and supplements. Vitamin C, D3, zinc, and elderberry are great immune-boosting options, but always check with your doctor first. 

Get Vaccinated

There’s no vaccine for the common cold and RSV (yet!). But the seasonal flu vaccine and COVID vaccines significantly help prevent the spread of disease. For those unlucky enough to still get sick after getting vaccinated, the rates of serious illness are drastically lowered compared to those who are unvaccinated. Many people wonder if they or their child can receive a flu and COVID shot together at one office visit. If you’re due for both vaccines, the answer is yes!

Exercise

Exercise is another crucial aspect to a healthy immune response. Moving the body increases blood flow and mobilizes immune system responses throughout the body. Kids benefit from one hour of activity per day, and it doesn’t have to be complicated. Playing on the playground, running around the yard, going for a walk – all add up to better health and less risk of falling ill. 

Lower Stress

Kids need to play! Managing stress is key to a healthy immune system for everyone, and the main way kids manage stress is through self-directed play. Encourage independent play from a young age, but join in from time to time as well. As your child grows more comfortable with independent imaginative play, take some downtime for yourself, too. 

Teach Simple Habits

Simple precautions go a long way toward preventing the spread of viruses:

  • Thorough, frequent handwashing
  • Covering coughs and sneezes with your elbow
  • Masking in crowded indoor spaces
  • Keeping distance from symptomatic people

Lead by example, and kids will get the hang of these simple precautions quickly. 

Boost your family’s immunity naturally

Boosting your family’s immunity comes down to well-rounded self-care. It won’t matter how many supplements you take if you’re all stressed and sleep deprived. Focusing on quality rest and nutrition is the foundation of a healthy immune system. To lower your family’s chances of catching the flu, COVID, RSV, and the common cold, encourage adequate sleep and healthy foods first. Stay up to date on vaccines, and encourage plenty of downtime for everyone to lower stress levels. Get in the habit of handwashing often – especially before eating, after returning home, and of course after using the restroom. With these immune-boosting techniques, you’ll lower your family’s risk of getting sick this respiratory season.