Now that we are over allergy season (Thank God!), winter, a.k.a. flu season has arrived; the weather is getting colder fast. To me, the worst part of this season is the many hours wasted at the doctors’ waiting room for my sick kids. Ever since they started school, colds and infections always make an appearance.
The best way to deal with colds? Prevent them before they happen! I know its easier said than done, how do you know what’s actually working and what’s a waste of time? Here are some things I tried with 3 of my kids and they seemed to make a difference:
Garlic – my personal favorite and I found that my kids liked them too once I roasted them (don’t give them raw garlic, they will not like the pungent taste). Although cooking could lose some of the beneficial substance allicin, it is a great way to introduce it into your child’s diet so they get used to the taste and effect (you don’t want and upset gassy tummy) and work your way to raw garlic. Numerous research confirmed that garlic is an anti-bacterial and an anti-parasitic, among the many other benefits it holds.
Ginger – too much will turn off your kids, just enough will make them enjoy their food with the added benefit of keeping them warm. Ginger has been known to help with bronchitis conditions (that nasty cough every winter?), and I personally use it every time I get allergies and it always clears them up
Probiotic – if you ask any pediatrician in Kuwait, they will tell you that no solid proof has been provided as to their positive effect. I asked more than 2 a few years back and I hope their point of view has changed, because I saw solid proof of their effect. Probiotics help keep the gut flora under control with friendly bacteria, assisting bowel function, forming part of our immune defense system and preventing armful species from residing in our bodies. I use it daily for my third child and to this day he only suffered from one ear infection (compared to 4 with my first, and 3 with my second in the same time period).
Another very important factor is sleep; I cannot emphasize sleep and a child’s health. A lot of parents make the mistake of assuming that if their child is able to stay up he does not need a lot of sleep. On the contrary, kids should not be left to dictate when they go to bed, that should be a set as a schedule that all house members stick to. In a previous post titles How Much Sleep Does Your Child Need? I outlined the behavioural effects of lack of sleep, some health effects are:
– Reduced immune function by up to 30%
– More injuries (up to 86% more!) due to low cognitive and coordination function
– Slower growth rate, as the Human Growth Hormone is released during sleep
Give your child a good schedule of meals and sleep and you will find a very happy child. Kids don’t need a full schedule to keep them happy, they need a predictable one.