Kids are back to school full swing, the temperature is changing, and Fall is in the air. Along with all the pumpkins and beautiful foliage, with that change often comes the dreaded cold and flu season.

Even though you just finished getting your kids back into the routine of the school year, now is the time to start thinking about how you can help them prepare for the respiratory virus season.

Hand Hygiene

Kids are notorious for touching everything and not washing their hands nearly enough. Get your kids used to washing their hands at the obvious times, like after using the restroom or before eating. In addition, I would remind them to wash or use hand sanitizer after riding the school bus, after going to the store with you, or whenever they’re hanging out with a sniffy/sneezy friend (who probably isn’t washing his hands every time he wipes his nose).

Sleep

It’s amazing how the immune system is affected by how much restorative sleep we get. It’s important now more than ever to make sure your child is getting adequate sleep so that her body has the strength to fight all the germs that she’ll be exposed to. If your kids start to act like they’re catching something, it’s even more important to help them get those ZZZ’s. Shut down those electronics 2 hours before their intended bedtime, keep the lights dim in the home, and encourage relaxing activities like a soothing bath or writing in a journal.

Some Key Supplements

Ideally, every child would be getting adequate nutrients from their food, but we know that’s not how it works. Vitamin D is intricately related to immune function. As the days get shorter, our natural Vitamin D exposure decreases, so just about all children could benefit from some Vitamin D supplementation in the fall and winter. Getting some extra Vitamin C and healthy Omega-3 fats can also help boost your child’s immune system.

Food is Medicine

Give your kids a healthy diet filled with colorful fruits and vegetables, healthy fats and clean proteins. If they do start to feel under the weather, you can add to this foundation with bone broth, fresh garlic and onions, and fresh lemon and ginger. These foods have been proven to help the body fight illness and recover quickly. Your grandma was right!

Essential Oils

My favorite essential oils for boosting immune support are Frankincense and a blend of Orange, Clove, Cinnamon, Eucalyptus, and Rosemary. Applying these oils (diluted) on your children’s feet every morning can help them maintain a healthy immune response. If they do start to sniffle or feel under the weather, you can add diluted oregano to the mix. Diffusing some oils such as peppermint or eucalyptus may help with respiratory symptoms when they do hit.

Flu Vaccine

The flu vaccine covers 4 strains expected to be the most common strains for the flu season. At CentreSpring MD, we carry Thimerosal-free flu vaccines for ages 6 months and older. No vaccine is 100% effective, but it certainly can prevent illness from the Influenza virus and can make the course of Influenza less severe to the vaccinated individual.

Dr. Jamilet Alegria, M.D., joined the CentreSpring MD team of providers in the fall of 2016 after spending years as a Pediatric Hospitalist at both CHOC Children’s in Orange County and at the Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center Inpatient Pediatrics Unit in Southern California.

Email appointments@centrespringmd.com to schedule a visit with Dr. Jamilet Alegria, M.D..

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Categories: Pediatric Wellness