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Boosting Your Child’s Immunity in the Cold Season

Young girl enjoying fruits and vegetables

As the temperatures continue to drop and the inversion sets in here in Utah, we’re gearing up for the peak of cold and flu season in January and February. During this time of year, those pesky viruses seem everywhere, especially affecting young children and teenagers. Tackle this season head-on by focusing on boosting your child’s immunity system. Let’s get those defenses up with some effective strategies and immune-boosting tips tailored to address the needs of different age groups.

Building Baby’s Immune System

Infancy is a critical period for immune system development. Breastfeeding is pivotal in providing infants with essential antibodies that strengthen their defenses. If breastfeeding isn’t an option, seek a formula that helps boost your baby’s immune system.

As you introduce solid foods, prioritize a diverse and nutrient-rich diet. Opt for fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins to ensure your baby receives the vitamins and minerals necessary for robust immunity.

Simple hygiene practices like regular hand washing and encouraging others who are in contact with your baby to do the same can significantly reduce the spread of germs during this stage.

Infant Vitamins for the Immune System

Supplements can complement your infant’s diet and aid in immune system development. Vitamin D is essential for supporting bone health and affecting immune function. Consult with your pediatrician to determine the appropriate dosage for your baby, considering factors such as diet, sunlight exposure, and individual health needs.

Immune Boosters for 2-Year-Olds

A child’s immune system is fully developed once they are 2 to 3 years old. As your child transitions into toddlerhood, continue to focus on a balanced diet to support their growing immune system. Encourage the consumption of immune-boosting foods, such as yogurt with probiotics, foods rich in vitamin C, like berries and citrus fruits, and vegetables rich in vitamins and minerals.

Maintaining proper hygiene practices, such as teaching them to cover their mouths when coughing and washing their hands regularly also helps reduce the risk of infections.

Keeping your toddler active during winter will also help support a healthy immune system. If it’s too cold to go outside, get creative with indoor activities like building forts, having a dance party, or setting up an obstacle course.

Immune System Development in Children and Teenagers

As your child progresses through childhood and into their teenage years, their immune system develops significantly. Consider addressing factors that may weaken their immunity and contribute to frequent illnesses including stress due to academic pressure, busy schedules, and

extensive social engagements. Encourage stress management techniques, such as exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, eating healthy meals, and practicing mindfulness.

Building up a Weak Immune System

There may be underlying issues if your teenager seems to get sick every month. Chronic stress, insufficient sleep, and poor dietary choices can all contribute to teenagers having a weaker immune system. In addition, public settings like schools or churches expose your loved ones to more germs, forcing their immune systems to work harder. Encourage the following to help support the immune system:

  • Stress-reducing activities like yoga, exercise, and taking breaks from electronic devices.
  • Eight or more hours of sleep each night.
  • Nutrient-rich, vitamin-filled meals rather than trying to survive on fast food, protein bars, and energy drinks.
  • Frequent hand washing or close contact with friends or peers.

Proactively boosting your child’s immunity is an empowering approach to safeguarding their health during cold and flu season. Incorporating these practices into your family’s routine can help your children face the winter season with resilience and well-being throughout the flu season. You can confidently embrace the season knowing that you’re taking steps to keep your loved ones healthy and happy.

Tiffany Thomas, M.D.

Tiffany Thomas, M.D.

Tiffany practices pediatrics in our South Jordan office.

a happy father receives a kiss from his son

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