Summer break is over for the kids, and by this time, they are all back in school. As autumn officially sets in, with the leaves changing and falling, it also ushers another not-so-pleasant season — cold and flu. Kids’ immune systems are pretty hardy, after all, they are surrounded by a school chock full of different germs and a body full of students, but it never hurts to be proactive and prevent illness from setting in and taking hold during this season.
At Huneycutt Family Medicine, we know you have many choices in primary care physicians in Loveland, and we are set apart because of our patient-centered care and wide range of medical services. Learn more on how to keep your kids healthy and in school with these immune-boosting tips for the back-to-school season.
Back-To-School Health Tips
Being back in school exposes your kid to a multitude of germs and bacteria, and the reality is, we can’t contain them in a plastic bubble no matter how hard we try! Take action to boost their immune systems so they can better fight the onslaught of invaders that make their way from classroom-to-classroom and kid-to-kid!
Add In Probiotics
A healthy gut microbiome is one of keys to staying well this season. Help re-establish the good bacteria by adding in probiotic foods into your child’s diet. There is wide selection of sauerkraut and kefir, but if they tend to be picky, try a probiotic supplement, but ensure it is free from added sugar.
Set a Firm Sleep Schedule
We are all a little better with proper sleep, and kids require more of it. When a firm sleep schedule is established, not only will they be less grumpy, but it will better arm their bodies and prepare them to fight oncoming germs and bacteria.
Swap The Sugar
This may seem like an achievable goal, but take it little by little. Not only does sugar affect your microbiome, it can compete with vitamin C and negatively impact your immune health. Read more about that here. You can swap sweets by preparing snacks with stevia or offering them fruit instead of sugary snacks. You can’t control every part of their diet, so just start with the small things and keep building.
Greens are great for everyone, and support immune health and methylation — your body’s ability to detox. Sulfur-rich foods also help with this. Choose dark, leafy greens, like spinach and kale, brussel sprouts, and broccoli. This methylation boost will help them rid them of toxins and better prepare their immune system.
If your child doesn’t immediately gobble up greens, sneak them into smoothies and soups.
Supplement With Natural Immune Boosters
There are a myriad of wonderful vitamins and herbs to support your immune system, and below is just a sneak peak!
- Echinacea – This herb can be taken preventatively to enhance and activate the immune system. It loves to awaken white blood cells and prepare them for battling germs and bacteria.
- Elderberry – This tiny black berry is tasty, so it is a great option for kids! Because of its high ORAC score and abundant antioxidants, it is perfect for normalizing cytokines and giving your immune system a big, supportive herbal hug!
- Food-based vitamin C – Vitamin C is probably the most well-known immune helper in the cold and flu season. Vitamin C supports the immune system thanks to its antioxidant properties
- Mushrooms – Mushrooms contain beta-glucans, which are advantageous for immune health. There are even mushroom sprays on the market in different flavors so you don’t taste the mushrooms at all.
- Zinc – Zinc is one of the first responders in combating harmful invaders, and it balances the immune response to inflammation.
When you plan out and are intentional with immune health and your kiddos, it makes the back-to-school season so much better.
To learn more about immune health and schedule a wellness checkup, work with the leading Loveland primary care physician at Huneycutt Family Medicine.