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How to strengthen children’s immune resistance before the infection season?

Parents often worry that their kids get sick or suffer from chronic infections which are recurrent. Most exposed to the risk of infections of the upper or lower respiratory tract are children in early school age. This is due to the child's exposure to greater than ever number of surrounding other sick children, coughing, sneezes etc. Additionally, especially those younger children because succumb to infection more often because their immune system is capable of intensive development and so called ‘being ill’ learns how to fight in the future with dangerous viruses and bacteria.


How to strengthen the child's body before the coming of autumn and winter and with it the season of colds and flu?

Even in summer, it is important that the child had the opportunity to rest and recharge ideally on holidays spent together with family. It was once thought that the climate change has a positive effect on the child's immune resistance. Another factor strengthening the child's body is regular exercise in the fresh air. Children love to play in the park or in the garden and here no matter what time of year you should provide scope of psychical activities. Especially in the summer, it is important that children can play in sunny weather because exposure to vitamin D affects their normal development. But always be sure to use filters against sun, if a child is exposed for a longer stay in the sun. Paediatricians and dermatologists warn to do not expose infants to the sun.

Another way to strengthen immunity in a small child is to provide him adequate amounts of nutrients and vitamins in his daily diet. To achieve this effect a balanced diet and access to fruits and vegetables especially seasonal which are grown in our climate is a must. For example, a source of Vitamin C will be logged in our climate’s raspberries and currants instead of citrus. Green vegetables like broccoli and spinach are excellent sources of iron. What if we have at home little fussy eater who will not touch any of the above? Best to consult a paediatrician or family doctor who after examining the child will know what products to recommend vitamin supplements to make up any shortfalls. Additionally, the British formulas are usually in the form of a syrup for children enhancing the resistance which can be used both during infection and prophylactically.

In the UK recently available in preschool and early school is a flu vaccine nasal spray for children. These vaccinations are carried out in schools and nurseries with the consent of their parents. In addition, already been initiated vaccination program under the auspices of the Public Health England (PHE), which is aimed at protection of about 600 thousand people more than in a previous years.

Many parents do not realize how serious complications can bring influenza (pneumonia and bronchitis), whose initial symptoms are confused with the common cold. Thanks to vaccination of children, we can avoid contamination with the whole family, including people with low resistance.

However, despite all the efforts, our toddler is ill and walks more worrisome symptoms such as high fever or prolonged cough, severe weakness, lack of appetite and many others, instead of worrying too long, best is to make an appointment as soon as possible with a family doctor GP. The doctor after examining the child is in the best position to determine how advanced the illness of a child is and how to start right therapy in that particular case.


The author is dr Katarzyna Broad, a specialist in family medicine, GP Victoria Clinic in Manchester, UK.