As Autumn draws to a close, and Winter begins to creep in, everywhere you turn feels like it’s infection central…especially your little one’s day care or school.
Upper respiratory tract infections (or URTIs for short) affect the lungs, airways, throat and sinuses, and cause colds, coughs, sore throats, sneezing, runny or blocked noses, and fever. Most children catch up to 10 URTIs per year (those in primary school can contract between 6 to 12 per year), with little pre-schoolers around three times more likely to catch one!
So… what can you do to protect your little one this URTI season?
1. P R O B I O T I C P O W E R
It’s been shown that lactobacilli and bifidobacterial probiotics can be effective in reducing not only the number or URTIs your child might catch, but the duration of each. The British Journal of Nutrition’s recent review found that probiotics can reduce the number of ‘sick days’ by 30% on average!
2. O U T D O O R P L A Y E V E R Y D A Y
Expose your child to a little sunlight, and a lot of immune-boosting Vitamin D, each day by encouraging outdoor play. Don’t forget to also encourage good old fashioned regular handwashing, too. Both habits can help keep those coughs and colds at bay.
3. E A T R I G H T
You’ve heard plenty of times that feeding the body with the correct nutrition goes a long way for health and wellness. URTI season is the perfect time to start!
Make sure you load your little one up with plenty of protein, fresh fruit and vegetables, and ‘healthy’ fats (like nuts, seeds and eggs). Cut down on the refined and processed foods, and perhaps even try some probiotic fermented foods (full of immune-boosting super powers) like kefir or natural pot-set yoghurt.
4. E A S Y A S A , C , Z
Maybe it’s time to call in the big bug guns: Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and Zinc.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant and can work wonders in boosting immunity while protecting the body’s tissues from damage. A 2015 study by ProChild found that, combined with a probiotic, 50mg of Vitamin C daily can half the reduction in symptoms, episodes of illness, the need for antibiotic treatment, and the amount of time taken off school when taken for six months.
Zinc has also been found to reduce the number of colds our little ones catch, the time they spend off school, and the antibiotics required. Meanwhile, Vitamin A helps to improve the functioning of the immune system whilst taking care of those mucous membranes.
Quercetin can also be helpful come URTI time: it’s an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, and is found in high concentrations in berries, citrus fruits, and onions.
Fight URTIs hand-in-hand with your little ones and natural medicine this cold & flu season!
Reference: BioCeuticals FX Medicine Magazine, 4 May 2018.