My daughter will start a Prechool class this Fall and although she has been around lots of kids and gotten some colds, the school tells you to expect the children to get sick more. This is her first time being on her own. Is there any type of suplementing or foods that I can give to try and make sure she doesnt get sick. I don't want to miss out on lots of school days!! Thanks
Cold viruses mutate here and there, in this person’s body and that one, until one comes out different enough from the original virus that the antibodies people developed for the old one no longer work toward it. With nearly 7 billion people on the planet, and people traveling so readily from region to region, we have a wide variety of colds and other similar viruses available to catch. I rather think that when we’ve battled quite a few, we have a little partial resistance to many new versions and don’t get ill as often. Interestingly, people who get almost no colds or allergies tend to get more cancers.
Anyway, that’s our world. Children will catch many things that give them runny noses, coughs, and other symptoms, once given enough exposure to other children, even when they’re eating and living healthy. Both the initiation of weaning and the final weaning can spark some vulnerability. The healthier ones do tend to just have the runny noses over and over without many other symptoms, though they can get knocked down occasionally too. Parents often find, after their children start school, that they have a little catching-up to do on viruses themselves.
Your daughter has already had some initiation and, with your great support, she’ll do fine. I know you don’t want her missing school days. For some children, much of the missing is more in terms of trying not to expose other children, though frankly, that’s a rather lost cause in preschools. This is why the school says what they said to you. They want you to be forewarned. If things go better than that, you can only be happy, and if your daughter does get ill frequently at first, you’ll be prepared. Find out what their policy is on sending children to school with various symptoms. Then, if your daughter fits their criteria, has no fever, and her energy seems fine, send her on to school even with that little 3rd day runny nose or that few days-old cough (because they can often run and cough for weeks at a time).
All that said, yes, we can all use some immune support. Often in preschoolers the challenge is in finding what the child will actually swallow or eat. All the fruits, vegetables, beans, and nuts will have immune-providing qualities. The DHA and EPA from livers and fish are valuable too, or there are gummy vegan-sourced supplements with these. Remember the sun exposure and vitamin D supplements, cod liver oil, fatty fish, eggs, liver and skin consumption, or D-fortified foods. Vitamin C is always a winner, and with bioflavonoids or hesperidin, it’s even better. Don’t forget the probiotics. These can limit respiratory infections as well as intestinal.
After covering the basics mentioned, there are many great immune-supporting supplements. You certainly don’t need to use these all, but I’ll mention some of my favorites. There’s such a wide difference in products that are available in different regions, and in what various children and at various ages will and won’t accept, food allergies, vegan concerns, and more, that I’m just going to mention my favorite basics and let you select what products seem to fit the bill for your daughter.
Goldenseal is a great general infection-fighter. Among the anti-microbial anti-oxidants, grapefruit seed extract, grapeseed extract, and curcumin are some of the best. Alternate between a couple of those or something similar. Mushrooms have powerful anti-microbial properties. You might find a nice mushroom formula. If you have a really hard time getting any version of any of these into your daughter, try rubbing neem oil into her arms, legs and tummy. You can also drop astragalus root into soups, marinara, and other sauces. There’s one immune enhancer that few kids will turn down: honey. During an illness, I use a high UMF-rated Manuka honey. It’s powerful stuff. Stir it with lemon juice to use as sore throat soother or just give by the teaspoonful for general protection. I use a less expensive honey for daily purposes. I know your daughter is older but I just want to include that honey is not recommended for children under 12 months http://www.thebabybond.com/HoneyForBabiesSafeOrNot.html but don’t let that frighten you for an older child. Drop a decaffeinated green tea bag and a teaspoon of honey into a 16 oz water bottle and soon you have a yummy, healthy tea for your daughter to drink throughout the day.
Echinacea is great stuff but is better used as a cold/sore throat supporter than for daily use.
Breastmilk helps reduce the number of respiratory and intestinal infections, and the level of illness, but of course one can’t nurse forever.
Linda F. Palmer, DC
"The Baby Bond"