Beat school bugs before they beat you

Five natural ways to boost your child’s immune system.

It’s that time of year again: coughs and colds, fevers and the dreaded flu – we’re seeing more and more cases of kids feeling sick and sad. Children in Hong Kong are even more prone to sicknesses because we live in a densely populated and polluted city, the weather changes rapidly, and medication is prescribed far more often than necessary.

It’s important to remember that antibiotics can kill a bacterial infection, but they’re useless against a virus. They wipe out bad bacteria and good ones too. They weaken the immune system, which leaves kids exposed to every bug that’s doing the rounds in classrooms and in the playground. In fact, research shows that infections recur two to three times more often after antibiotic treatments.

So, how can you boost your child’s immune system to keep bugs at bay? It’s the question most of our parent clients are asking!

A clean diet and a clean lifestyle can go a long way to support your child’s immunity. If children do fall victim to a virus, a tailored plan of natural medicines like herbal medicine, homeopathy, and good-quality nutritional supplements, as well as appropriate diet and lifestyle tweaks can bolster your child’s innate healing abilities, and prevent acute conditions from becoming chronic.

Here are five approaches to supercharge your child’s immune system. Recommended by practitioners. Approved by parents.

1) Eat foods that fight colds

  • Sickness-busting citrus fruits

Vitamin C, of course! Most people turn to Vitamin C when they succumb to the sniffles. Citrus fruits like oranges, tangerines, clementines, grapefruit, lemons and limes are all high in Vitamin C. Papaya and red bell peppers also pack a powerful C punch. In fact, red bell peppers contain twice as much Vitamin C than citrus fruits.

  • Go green

Broccoli, brussel sprouts and spinach are also loaded with Vitamin C. Additionally, broccoli contains immunity-strengthening Vitamin A and E as well as other antioxidants and fibre; brussel sprouts boast dietary fibre, vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin b6, and free radicals; and

spinach is packed with multiple antioxidants and beta-carotene, which increases the immune system’s infection-fighting skills.

  • Say yes to yoghurt

A great source of Vitamin D, sugar-free yoghurt is another immunity-booster It’s also a source of probiotics that keep the gut healthy, which in turn helps alleviate severe cold symptoms. In fact, the beneficial bacteria in yogurt is proven to shorten the duration of a cold by two days and make symptoms 34% less severe.

  • Opt for orange veggies

Carrots and sweet potatoes are big on beta-carotene, which our bodies convert into vitamin A – key for keeping mucous membranes clean and healthy.

  • Pack in protein

Lean proteins like chicken and turkey breast have a good amount of iron and zinc in them, which is important for the immune system. Eggs are a rich source of protein and they contain immunity-boosting zinc and selenium.

Another great source of protein: nuts. They also contain healthy fats and Vitamin E – vital for a strong immune system.

  • Find out about food intolerances

Gluten? Dairy? Eggs? Or something else? A food your child is eating may be upsetting the delicate balance of good and bad bacteria in their gut. An imbalance in their digestive system could harm their immune system, trigger inflammation and leave them susceptible to every bothersome bug at school. Finding out the hidden culprits that are undermining your child’s immunity can give you the upper hand. A simple pin prick test available at IMI can identify offending foods and, with a tailored plan in place to heal your child’s gut, we can put a stop to endless runny noses, coughs and colds.

2) Stress less, sleep more, say no to a sedentary lifestyle, and switch off screens

A survey released last year found that an alarming one in three young Hong Kongers suffer from stress, anxiety and depression. Why? Pressure to perform, insufficient sleep, too much sitting and an addiction to screens were the key causes linked to the overwhelming stress affecting children today.

All these factors weaken the immune system and reduce your child’s ability to fight off infections. Simple tweaks to your child’s lifestyle could help them become superheroes in the playground. As challenging as it can be in Hong Kong’s frenetic way of life, setting screen limits, avoiding blue light at night, ensuring thirty minutes of active movement every day, and allowing free time for play and rest can do wonders for a child’s immune system. 

3) Heal with homeopathy

Now this is a pill worth popping. Sweet and safe, homeopathic triggers the body’s self–healing power by stimulating a precise reaction in the body against the symptoms. Homeopathy can help to shorten the duration and severity of your child’s cold symptoms, improve how you feel during the process, and help to rebalance their immune system long-term.

4) Overcome infections with osteopathy

Osteopathy can be incredibly effective for supporting recovery and healing. Even if your child has a simple cold or cough, gentle techniques can help to support their lymphatic and respiratory system, alleviating symptoms and speeding their recovery.

5) Supplements for a strong immune system.

Having a balanced diet is very important to building long-term immunity. However, with deteriorating soil quality, imported foods, and the added environmental stressors of living in a city such as Hong Kong, it is almost impossible to achieve adequate nutrients from our diets alone. Good quality supplements are fast becoming a necessity to build a strong immune system.

Here are three pure and potent supplements to naturally boost your child’s immunity.

Ultra Pure Fish Oil 1400 liquid: A great-tasting lemon-flavoured liquid to improve little one’s immunity by reducing inflammation and improving their blood chemistry. Free of artificial colourings, flavourings or preservatives.

Vitamin D3 drops Forte 1000IU: Over a billion people worldwide lack adequate levels of Vitamin D. A recent study shows that vitamin D is a powerful immune system booster: children who up their vitamin D intake have half as many colds as those who remain deficient. These vanilla flavoured D drops are liquid sunshine. Free of dairy, gluten, shellfish, soy protein and yeasts.  Suitable for Vegetarians.

Optimal Multivitamin Powder: This super powered multivitamin packs a mighty punch of magnesium, iron, zinc, iodine, the B Vitamins, Vitamin D and more. Boosts immunity. Reduces Stress. Improves sleep. Bolsters mood. It’s great for boosting nutritional intake for fussy eaters. Free of dairy, wheat, gluten, egg, soy protein, fish, shellfish, nuts, artificial colours and flavours.

Can we boost your child’s immune system?

Naturopaths are the GPs of natural medicine. Our naturopaths have helped and healed thousands of children over the years. They’re often the first port of call for parents who want a natural fix for acute conditions – coughs, colds, fever, flu nourishing herbs, probiotics, or homeopathy. And they’re recognised for their personalised approach to rebuilding immune systems, healing chronic conditions, and returning kids to school, healthy and happy. Ready to supercharge your child’s immunity? Book an appointment with an IMI naturopath by calling 2523 7121 or connecting with us here.