By: Dr. Lisa Goodman, DC, CCSP, CACCP
Colds are common in the winter. Worse even, the flu. As parents, we can’t help but worry about our kids falling ill. So how do we stack the odds in favor of keeping our kids (and ourselves) healthy?
- Wash Hands Frequently - Effectively washing your hands with soap to reduce the likelihood of germs making it to the eyes, nose and mouth. A good rule of thumb is to wash your hands any time kids arrive or leave the house and before eating. The FDA has recently banned ingredients in antibacterial soaps and hand sanitizers. They contain chemicals that make them antibacterial, but could be toxic to you or your child. I do not recommend sanitizers, just pay attention to keeping hands clean with basic soap and water and you should be in good shape!
- Remember to ‘cover’ with any cough or sneeze to decrease spreading of germs.
- Tissues. Many times kids prefer to sniffle or inhale a runny nose. This can actually lead to a longer or more serious illness. Be sure to blow all runny noses into tissues to get the germs out of the body.
Good Habits to Rest and Recover
- Get plenty of sleep - Kids ages 3-13 need anywhere between 9-13 hours of sleep minimum. That means a 4 year old should be sleeping 11 hours per night. A 9 year old should be sleeping about 10 hours per night.
- Drink plenty of water - Kids generally drink when they are thirsty or playing sports. You can do your best to encourage your kids to drink water or healthy alternatives such as teas or emergen-c before they leave for school and when they get home.
- Get fresh air and exercise. Getting the heart rate up daily will flush fluids through the body and bring in fresh nutrients to the lungs and sinuses.
- Limit sugar. This can be hard around the holidays - but limiting refined sugar, treats and snacks while promoting healthy snacks will decrease the prevalence of colds.
Should you supplement?
Yes. There are 2 supplements that I highly recommend all children take especially during the winter. The reason is because they are not available in the foods we eat every day, but are essential to maintaining health.
- Probiotics - the gut is the gateway to the immune system. Keeping gut bacteria in high numbers and maintaining gut health is a great first step to preventing illness.
- Vitamin D - in the winter, with fewer and farther sun rays - we are seriously deprived of Vitamin D. Its role in immune health is clear. Many people choose to ‘mega dose’ with Vitamin D. Ask your chiropractor or medical doctor for dosing recommendations. Hint: 400 IU per day is NOT enough (even for kids).
Chiropractic adjustments are very effective for pain. They are also very effective for boosting an immune response. Many patients get adjusted at the first sign of a cold. They are also incredibly effective at resolving and preventing ear infections. Colds can spiral into ear infections quickly. The pathways between the ears, nose and throat are all open and therefore germs can thrive in these space and be difficult to clear up. Chiropractic adjustments on infants and children improves biomechanical alignment and draining while stimulating the immune response.