The winter months…we all know what this entails when it comes to our children’s health. More stuffy noses, fevers, possible flu, and trips to the doctor’s office. It doesn’t have to be this way!

Here are a few things you can do to boost your child’s immune system and keep those winter bugs at bay.

Spruce up their diet!

This time of year it can be easy to go overboard with sugar. This can really dampen the immune response, making it weaker and give more rise to colds and flu. Keep processed foods and added sugar out of the diet as much as possible. I am a huge fan of berries for health and immune system support. They are full of antioxidants, and they taste good! If your child is prone to becoming more congested with dairy intake, absolutely keep it out of their diet and choose an alternative to cow’s milk such as almond milk or coconut milk.

Making a vegetable soup with just a touch of garlic (or a bone broth) is a great way to combat infection since garlic has antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties. Make a fresh pasta sauce with oregano, which also has antiviral properties, or drizzle some elderberry syrup on pancakes (we love this one at home!). Gaia has a great elderberry syrup that you can get here, and it is a go-to for winter bug busting! Kids really love the taste. These are just a few adjustments you can make to recipes that will give your kids immune system a boost.

Supplement to fill in any nutritional gaps!

This time of year, vitamin D can plummet. Especially if your child is starting out on the lower end. Supplementing with Vitamin D3 can help keep the immune system doing its job well. Toddlers ages 1–4 can take 400iu-1000iu of Vitamin D3 daily, 5-10-year-olds can take 1000iu per day. Talk with your healthcare provider about individual needs.

Zinc can also be helpful. Kids ages 1–4 can take 2-3 mg daily, and 5-10-year-olds around 5 mg daily. Individual needs may vary. Always check that your supplement has these and do not take additional without consulting with your doctor.

A final favorite to ward off those pesky winter cough and colds is Vitamin C! I love that we have Vitamin C IV and injections available at our office in case of an acute illness, or if one would like additional immune support before travel. I have seen this kick even the most gnarly colds and flu to the curb! I typically recommend 250mg of Vitamin C daily for 2-5 year olds and 500-1000mg for older kids, depending on individual needs.

Implement these changes now to keep you kid well this season! The cold weather has only just begun, and we have a long winter ahead! Schedule your child’s well check to ensure all is well, and they are set up for success this season. We can’t wait to see you in our office!

Stephanie Finn is a Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner and Registered Nurse at the CentreSpring MD. She is dedicated to providing compassionate and holistic healthcare and promoting pediatric wellness.

Email appointments@centrespringmd.com to schedule a visit with Stephanie Finn.

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Categories: Baby, Pediatric Wellness, Prevention