- Dr. DeMers
9 Quick Back to School Tips to Keep Your Kids Healthy
It’s back to school time and all the dreaded sniffles, colds and “germs”! It is especially important to support your child’s health and boost their immunity during this time of transition:
A healthy diet is crucial! Try to eliminate sugar, including fruit juice and especially soda. Eliminate processed foods when possible and most dairy products. Increase leafy green vegetables, berries, and high quality protein and fats.
Give zinc citrate. Zinc has been shown to be immune boosting and reduce the likelihood of colds and viruses. It can be given as a lozenge for older kids or a liquid for younger kids. Up to 3 years can take 2-3 mg/day, 5 mg for 4-8 year olds, 8-10 mg for 9-13 year olds, 10-15 mg for 14-18 year olds. If you are already giving a multivitamin, you can check the dosing to see if it contains what your child needs.
Vitamin C daily. Has also shown to reduce cold symptoms in children. Give “buffered ascorbic acid” 250-500 mg 3 times/ day with meals.
Give a daily probiotic. The gut is a very important part of the immune system! You want a probiotic that contains Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium strains. Look for one that needs to be refrigerated. There are liquid and powder forms for young children and kids 12 and over can take an adult probiotic.
Vitamin D3. This powerhouse “vitamin” is good for immunity as well as overall health. Most people are low, especially in Connecticut. Babies can take 400IU daily, 1-5 year olds take 500-1000IU, 5-10 year olds take 1000IU and over 10 can take 1000-2000IU daily.
Gentle herbal remedies are known to be safe for kids and help fight off colds and viruses. Echinacea, Andrographis, and Umckaloaboor (Umcka) all have good supportive data, are safe, and effective! If your child has the flu, elderberry syrup can shorten the duration and severity.
Use a saline nasal rinse 2-3 times/week. It has been shown to reduce URIs significantly. If your kid is 4 or over give it a try! You can easily find a neti pot or saline rinse kit at the pharmacy or health food store. Just make sure you follow the directions, use the recommended saline solution only and use distilled or boiled (and cooled to room temperature) water.
Wash your hands regularly with plain soap and water. Antibiotic hand sanitizer contributes to the risk of antibiotic resistance as well as drying out the skin too much, putting it at risk for skin breakdown and vulnerability.
And don’t forget laughter and joy is the best medicine,
so encourage your kids to play, be silly, and be in nature as much as possible!