As a pediatrician, many worried mothers come to me complaining that their children seem to be constantly sick with one illness or another. Just as they get over one virus, another seems to make its way through every member of the family. But at the same time, I often notice in these children habits which do not support a strong and healthy immune system. I see a bag of chips in one hand and a Pepsi in the other, I see the child staying up till all hours of the night and not getting enough sleep, or I see that he gets very little exercise out in the sun.
Prevention is the best cure. By making sure your body has everything it needs to function optimally, you are taking a huge step in preventing illness for yourself and your family.
Build a strong and healthy immune system by following these 5 Steps to Prevent Colds & Flu:
- A healthy diet is essential: filled with fruits, vegetables, meats, eggs, healthy fats, and fermented foods, with little (or no) sugars, artificial foods and unhealthy fats. Read the labels on everything and eat only natural, real food. Try to avoid fake foods invented in a laboratory.
- Vitamin D: this vitamin is so important to our health and immune system, but unfortunately most of us are severely deficient due to our modern indoor lifestyles. Our skin naturally produces vitamin D when exposed to the sun. If you can’t get sun exposure every day, I recommend getting your levels checked and taking a supplement if necessary.
- Sleep: just a few nights of inadequate sleep can damage our immune systems and make us susceptible to infection. This is especially important for children. Letting them stay up very late and then nap during the day is not healthy either. We should maintain a consistent sleep schedule, even on the weekends or during vacations.
- Stress management: learning how to deal with stress and not letting it take control of you is important for a strong immune system.
- Regular exercise: staying active has so many benefits, including strengthening your body’s ability to fight off germs.
If a cold or flu does strike, read here about 10 Natural Remedies for Colds & Flu.