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How can I Build Immunity in Children?

By Patti Kate
Updated May 17, 2024
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One of the best ways to boost immunity in children is at the beginning of life. Breast feeding is known to build a strong immune system in babies. This is because breast milk has natural antibodies that help infants develop immunity against illness and disease. Another way to improve immunity in children is to ensure they have proper nutrition. Avoiding unnecessary use of antibiotics is also essential.

Scientific studies show that babies who are breast fed have a head start developing healthy immune systems. Bottle-fed infants miss out on certain crucial antibodies that the mother passes on to her child through breast milk. Although many enriched formulas come close, breast milk supplies one of nature's own benefits that cannot be duplicated. Experts believe that infants who are breast fed may have stronger immunity to childhood diseases.

Many children become fussy eaters when they reach the toddler stage. Due to their finicky eating habits, young children may often miss out on essential nutrients they need to build a healthy immune system. One sure way to help improve and strengthen immunity in children is to provide a balanced diet and supplement the diet with specially formulated children's vitamins. Supplements are especially important during the cold and flu season and when the child begins school.

There has been a lot of research in recent times regarding the benefits of probiotics. Probiotics are the beneficial, or healthy, bacteria present in the gastrointestinal tract. Quite often, however, especially during stressful times or illness, the body can become depleted of the healthful bacteria needed for a strong immune system.

About 70 percent of the body's immune system resides in the lining of the intestines. With this in mind, a positive way to boost immunity in children is to maintain proper balance in the intestinal tract and replenish healthful bacteria. One effective way to accomplish this is by eating foods that contain live and active cultures such as lactobaccilus and acidophilus. Having a child eat yogurt daily can help his immunity. Another way to replenish beneficial bacteria is by giving a child a probiotic supplement each day.

Experts also concur that it's probably not a good idea to have a child over use antibacterial hand soap. Ordinary soap and water is typically recommended for hand washing and daily bathing. Antibacterial soaps are unnecessary and may actually do more harm than good, especially in young children. Some experts believe this may lead to resistant strains of bacteria emerging to which the child will be unable to develop an immunity.

A balanced diet and good hygiene may be the best ways to protect a child. When chronic medical issues are present, another way boost immunity in children is to get an annual flu shot. This inoculation is meant to strengthen influenza immunity and can protect a child from serious flu complications.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

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