Back to school cold prevention

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For many kids, autumn can be filled with coughs, colds, asthma and other respiratory illnesses. Colds are the number one reason for missed days of school with the average child missing about five days per year. As temperatures drop, we begin to congregate indoors, and we are more likely to spread viruses.

With just a few simple changes to support your child’s body, it can make them less susceptible to illness.

Is your child prone to illness? It could be any number of issues: vitamin D levels could be too low (due to decreased sun exposure), eating too much sugar and refined grains, not getting enough sleep, not getting enough exercise, not dealing with stress, or any combination of the above.

Vitamin D is an extremely effective antimicrobial agent with the ability to kill bacteria, viruses and fungi, yet it is estimated that 85% of Americans are deficient in it. The best source of Vitamin D is direct sun exposure, but oral supplements can be used when that isn’t possible. To prevent the flu, children and adults need 35 IUs per pound of body weight. The only way to know if your vitamin D level is optimal is through blood testing.

Fall vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach and kale can help purify and protect the body and are packed with beta-carotene, which is converted into vitamin A. Vitamins A and D are important for immune health, especially in the fall and winter.

A great way to balance the body in the fall is through eating warm seasonal dishes. In addition, include more sour or fermented foods into the diet such as sourdough bread, yogurt, ginger or sauerkraut to add probiotics that support the gut and immune system.

Other foods that will strengthen the immune response are fresh vegetables, fruits, coconut oil, garlic, high-quality protein, and fresh herbs.

It is important to address sleep, exercise, and stress issues at the first hint of cold symptoms. This is when changes will be most effective in boosting the immune system. Drink plenty of pure water. Regular exercise also contributes to a resilient immune system.

There are supplements that can be beneficial to helping your child fight off pathogens, but they are secondary to making the lifestyle changes discussed above. Some helpful supplements include Vitamin C, Zinc, Oregano Oil, and herbs such as Echinacea, Olive Leaf, Holy Basil, Andrographis, Elderflower, and peppermint.

For more information, contact Dr. Wendy at haydenhealth@gmail.com.

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