Going back to school for kids means a number of things, not the least of which is the fact that moms finally get some relief! That relief can be short lived, however, if your child comes home sick from school. Going back to school means that all kids––including your children––get exposed to anything and everything that is going around. Subsequently, they bring that home with them, exposing the entire family.
Exposure to germs is an inevitability, but it does not mean you are powerless to do anything about it. Below are some common sense measures you can take to help protect your kids against getting sick during the time of year they may be most vulnerable.
1. Enforce basic hygiene principals.
It is not news that communal spaces, shared objects and schools are a breeding ground for germs. Keyboards, hand-rails, locker rooms, desk and table spaces all accumulate the germs of multiple students on a daily basis and provide ample opportunity for your child to pick something up. Knowing this, the simple virtue of washing your hands often, particularly before meal time or food prep, is a vital principal to instill in your kids.
2. Keep your kids exercising.
Exercise is vital to good health, including immune health. With childhood obesity and the subsequent rise in childhood disease at an all-time high, it is vital for kids to get off the couch and out from behind the computer screen to get some exercise. Some parts of the country may be too cold come late fall––find indoor, active activities for your kids to participate in. This will help keep their immune system strong and promote good habits later on in life.
3. Maintain good health with diet.
Coordinating with your pediatrician or your child’s doctor as it relates to a child’s diet is important, and no significant changes should be made without consulting a licensed healthcare providers. Proper diet is key to maintaining health and immunity, even from a young age. In fact, instilling those principals early may be one of the best ways to ensure good health later on in life. Ask your physician if a Kaufmann 1 or Two Diet may be a good place to start when it comes to promoting health and nutrition. The Kaufmann 1 and Two Diets emphasize nutritious foods, such as vegetables, nuts, seeds, berries, eggs, lean meats and some limited fruits in lieu of sugar, grains and processed/starchy products that have been implicated in the obesity epidemic. These foods help prevent fungal infections, or fight existing pathogenic fungal infections, and promote health and vitality.
4. Supplement with good anti-microbial remedies.
There is a whole spectrum of safe anti-microbial remedies available at your health food store than can help fight against bacteria, viruses or fungi. Many of these are food-based, such as olive leaf extract, oregano oil, garlic, grapefruit seed extract or clove oil. These supplements are recommended as part of the Kaufmann 1 Diet for their ability to fight fungi, and rotating their use may be a good way to keep pathogenic fungi at bay. Many are known to have anti-bacterial effects, and protect against viral infection, as well. While these should never be used in place of an antibiotic if you are under doctor’s orders, they may help prevent their necessity in the first place.
5. Include some immune-fortifying supplements in your kids’ regimen.
Two key supplements that may assist in keeping your child’s immune system strong are probiotics and beta glucans. Probiotics help re-culture the “good” bacteria in your gut. These bacteria can be destroyed by poor diet, stress or antibiotics, but the functions they perform are vital for proper immunity, digestion and energy. Adding probiotics may help strengthen you and your child’s immune system. Beta glucans can help modulate the immune system in a way that maximizes its effect against invading pathogens.