When it comes to my kids I’m proud to say that at the ages of 12 and 9 they’ve never been on regular medication, never been on antibiotics, never picked up every bug going around when they started daycare and school and they now very rarely get more than a bit of a sniffle.
The main reason for this in my mind is simple… I work on the pretence that prevention is better than cure, I always choose natural remedies over pharmaceuticals when they do get ill and they eat a good diet which focuses on maintaining the immune system and more importantly their gut health.
I often get kids coming to my clinic who are constantly struggling with colds, flu’s, recurrent illnesses such as croup / tonsillitis / ear infections / gastro or the not so common sinusitis, strep throat, impetigo (or school sores) or even conjunctivitis.
What parents always say to me is that their child is constantly picking up everything that’s going around, they always seem to be ill, they’ve taken numerous courses of antibiotics and over the counter medications, none of which have helped and the problem doesn’t seem to be going away.
So what can you do about it?? Well this is where I come in…
Firstly we can’t go back and change what’s been done so don’t beat yourself up if they’ve had lots of antibiotics or there’s other factors which have affected their health to which you now spend a huge amount of time bblaming yourself for.. that’s all behind you, it’s what you do from now on that counts.
Okay, so lifestyle factors, what’s going on there??
Ensure they’re not being exposed to environmental toxins such as lots of chemically loaded cleaning products or second hand smoke. Make sure they exercise regularly, which seems strange to say that about a child as a few generations ago kids never sat on the couch all day watching TV but the reality these days is that they do.
They need to be getting enough sleep, reduce stress and anxiety, maintain a healthy body weight and make sure they’re washing their hands regularly (although I would avoid using those antibacterial hand washes unless there’s no other option).
Then there’s the diet.. and yes everything always comes back to diet and gut health in my books. Look at what they’re eating.. get rid of white, processed foods and make sure they’re eating adequate protein, fresh fruits and vegetables and drinking lots of water NOT sugary drinks.
From a supplement perspective this is really dependant on each child I find but in general I would recommend a good quality probiotic, most kids are deficient in Zinc so worth considering or working with your healthcare professional to see if it’s required, Vitamin D again should be looked at as kids spending more time indoors are often deficient in this area then if you find they’re getting ill have a plan of attack..
I provide patients with a “keep in the cupboard” plan which includes appropriate herbs and supplements for when illness hits because as we all know it always happens on Sunday afternoon when there’s no doctor available!!
Overall, kids get sick lets face it but there are things you can do to prevent this from happening which is much easier than dealing with the actual illness.
Until next time, stay calm and stay healthy.