A study by scientists at the University of Utah School of Medicine found that large families have some sort of viral infection in their home 87 percent of the year.
The study tracked viruses such as influenza, parainfluenza, and rhinovirus (the cause of the common cold.)
“The team found that people living in childless houses are infected with viruses just 3-4 weeks per year. Meanwhile, adding a single child to the household bumps that figure up to 18 weeks—which is 35 percent of the year—and a second to 29 weeks.
By the time a family has six children, there’s a virus in the household for up to 45 weeks per year. The results are published in Clinical Infectious Diseases.” – Gizmodo
Those under five were found to have a virus in their nasal mucus for half of the year. They were also 1.5 times more likely to spread the virus.
So… what can we do?
You can help keep your child healthy by establishing good habits in your daily routine. Focus on eliminating potential dangers and building up the immune system.
Exercise cuts risk of a cold by 50%
“A study of 1,000 people found that staying active nearly halved the odds of catching cold viruses and, failing that, made the infection less severe… because exercise helps bolster the immune system to fight off bugs.
Adults can expect to suffer two to five colds per year. This latest research suggests there are lifestyle choices you can make to improve your odds of either avoiding them or suffering too badly from them.
But the most significant factors that cut colds was how much exercise a person did and how fit they perceived themselves to be. Feeling fit and being active cut the risk of having a cold by nearly 50%.
People who were physically active on five or more days of the week were unwell with a cold for about five days of the three-month period, compared to nine days for those who did little or no exercise.
And even when they were ill, they suffered less with their symptom” – bbc.com
See to it that your child gets regular exercise such as walking, playing outside, or bike riding. Even moderate exercise can strengthen the immune system.
Let your child play in the dirt.
Getting dirty is an important part of building your child’s immune system and will help prevent allergies and other diseases.
“Research over the last decade or so has shown that the microbes and bacteria in dirt can help boost your immune system and make you healthier and even happier. ” -canticlefarm
“This outdoor playtime was its own vital probiotic boost. In the not-so-distant future, your doctor might recommend supplementing your immune-boosting routine with spending time going back to your roots and getting dirty. It’s not as outlandish as it sounds.
In a number of studies around the world, researchers are proving that the bacteria Mycobacterium vaccae found in soil could be vital to our health. For most of history, humans and bacteria have had a symbiotic relationship; bacteria in our gut help us process our food, among many other jobs.” – UBiome.com
Get Enough Sleep
Make sure your child gets enough sleep- anywhere from 10-12 hours a night. If possible, get them to bed early enough so they will be able to wake up on their own.
This will ensure that they get the sleep their body requires and will help bolster the immune system.
Remember… the same goes for you: Catch Your Zzzz’s.
Cut Out Refined Sugar
Eliminate or minimize the use of refined sugar (corn syrup, table sugar etc.) in your child’s diet. Refined sugar can suppress the immune system and reduce resistance against infectious disease.
Healthy snacks might include fresh fruits, smoothies, vegetables, and dip, popcorn, or whole-wheat pretzels. Offer sugary treats sparingly.
Feed your child 100% whole wheat bread instead of white bread. This is more nutritious and is a good source of fiber. Not all whole-wheat bread tastes the same. Experiment and find out which brand your child likes best.
Use eggs from free-range hens (if eggs are part of your child’s diet). These are shown to be more nutritious than regular store-bought eggs. You may be able to buy them from a local farmer or if they’re not available, purchase eggs marked DHA or high omega.
Avoid or cut down on the use of soft drinks. Soda can lead to obesity and tooth decay. Instead, keep fresh water readily accessible and offer fresh fruit juices (in moderation).
Note: Do not give your child artificial sweeteners, either. These sugar substitutes are unnatural toxins that the body either has to get rid of or store and can cause dangerous side effects. A healthier alternative is the herb stevia, which is a natural sweetener.
Teach Proper Hand Washing
Teach your child to wash his or her hands frequently with soap and warm water, especially during the winter. This alone can greatly decrease the risk of getting sick.
Tip: Teach your child to sing the Birthday song twice or to sing the ABC’s while washing their hands. When the song is done, they can rinse their hands and dry them.
Today is the Best Day to Start
Start Today. It’s never too late to begin establishing habits that can help your child stay healthy. You can help your child by helping to build up their immune system.
Remember… “laughter is still the /best medicine.”
According to science.howstuffworks.com: “Researchers are now saying laughter can do a lot more — it can basically bring balance to all the components of the immune system, which helps us fight off diseases.”