The doctor is in | Boosting immune systems

Aside from vaccines, is there anything we can do to help their immune systems get stronger? Daycare illness is real.

What can I do to boost my child’s immune system? As kids are going back to school and daycare, many families are wondering what they can do to help reduce their children’s risk of getting sick. The answers may not be that surprising. 

Preventing exposure should be the first step. Kids should be taught to wash their hands regularly, wear their masks and stay away from people who may be ill.

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While we do not have a vaccine that protects against COVID-19 yet, safe and effective immunizations are available that can prevent other serious diseases, such as measles, chickenpox and whooping cough. And any child over 6 months of age should get a flu shot before winter gets here.

What about vitamins or supplements? Unfortunately, there is no evidence that taking extra vitamins will keep you or your child from getting a cold. However, there is still lots that we can do to ensure that our little ones are as healthy as they can be.

Good nutrition is so important for optimal health. Children should have at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily. Offer apples, bananas or oranges instead of chips or cookies for a healthy snack. Spinach or zucchini can be cooked into spaghetti sauce for a delicious dinner.

Getting enough sleep is also necessary to keep our bodies healthy. Many children do not get enough rest. Young children need 10-12 hours of sleep every night, and teens should get 8-9 hours for optimal functioning.

And of course, regular exercise helps keep us in good shape. Kids should be active for at least 60 minutes daily. So, turn off the video games and go outside and play!

Dr. David Karas

Akron Children’s Hospital Pediatrics, Wadsworth

Photo: Dr. David Karas, Akron Children’s Hospital