Autumn has arrived, bringing beautiful colored leaves, cooler temperatures, and other seasonal treasures. While there’s much to enjoy during the changing of the seasons, this time of year can have a negative impact on tiny immune systems, bringing allergies, the common cold, and even the flu. This article will help you make informed decisions that will protect your child’s immune system this fall.
The cold, hard truth about colds
Carol J. Baker, M.D., a professor of pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine, in Houston explains that most children under the age of 3 will have six to eight colds per year. And unlike adult viruses, it’s perfectly normal for pediatric colds to hang on for up to 14 days.
- Although children have the highest contagion levels during the first three days of symptoms, they can still transfer the virus after they’ve had it for the full two weeks.
- Keep in mind that viruses can live up to 30 minutes on inanimate objects such as toys and clothes, further complicating the shared play space during this time of year.
Fact, or fiction?
You may have heard some of the following statements and taken them for fact—but don’t be fooled. Medical experts have disproven the following statements as false:
- False: Antibiotics will help your child get over a cold. Since colds are caused by viruses, they aren't treatable with antibiotics, which kill only bacteria. Overusing antibiotics can weaken a baby’s immune system and cause bacteria to build up a resistance over time. Use antibiotics only when necessary.
- False: Green snot means your child has a sinus infection. No need to call the doctor just yet—most colds will go through a phase when the snot looks either yellow or green.
- False: Starve a cold. It's important for your child to eat to keep her body strong and help her fight the infection. Don't worry, though, if she doesn't have much of an appetite for a day or two. At a minimum, keep the fluids flowing "If she has a fever and a runny nose, it's easy for her to get dehydrated," Dr. Baker says.
- False: Stop the coughing. Coughing is the primary way the body attempts to clear mucus from the respiratory tract. Only use a cough suppressant when directed by a physician—a cough expectorant is a better choice, as it will help loosen a cough.
How strong is my baby’s immune system?
The best defense against sickness is a strong immune system. “Immunity is immunity,” explains Dr. Jordan S. Orange, chief of immunology, allergy and rheumatology at Texas Children’s Hospital. “When you get it, you have it. So, if you get it earlier, you’re going to be immune earlier.”
To gauge the current state of your child’s immune system, Dr. Murray Clarke, a SafBaby Health Expert, suggests running through the following checklist:
- How long does it typically take for your child to recover and recuperate from coughs, colds, flu, ear infections, etc.?
- How many times have they taken antibiotics?
- Have they taken, or are they currently taking any allergy medications?
- Is their diet based on clean, organic, whole foods or processed, chemical and additive-laden junk and fast foods?
- Do they currently take any vitamin or nutritional supplements?
If you find that your child continuously catches any bug that passes around, has a long recovery time, and requires medications to recover, he or she might need help rebuilding his or her immune system.
Holistic approach to building the immune system
Follow pediatrician approved tips to ensure your baby has a strong immune system to fight germs and bacteria:
- Practice good hygiene: hand washing is the best way to prevent the spread of germs. In addition, have your child cough into his or her elbow to stop droplets from their nose and mouth from spreading onto those around them.
- Give your baby a balanced diet: If your baby is already on solids, make sure that he or she has well-balanced meals. A good diet gives babies the vitamins and minerals they need to help fight infections. It's even more important to make sure your baby gets enough vitamins and minerals if he or she is a fussy eater or is on a restricted diet.
How Bambino’s can help
Bambino’s Frozen Baby Food provides an ideal variety of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, perfectly designed for your baby. We create our immune-boosting foods from certified natural and organic ingredients, including vegetables grown in Alaska’s pure and untainted soils. Here at Bambino’s, we create delicious, easy-to-serve, balanced meals for your baby no matter their growth or development stage. Browse our store to find the best foods for your baby.
American Academy of Pediatrics: https://www.aap.org/en-us/advocacy-and-policy/aap-health-initiatives/Pages/What's-the-Latest-with-the-Flu.aspx?nfstatus=401&nftoken=00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000&nfstatusdescription=ERROR:+No+local+token