How to survive cold & flu season with your little one

by Dr. Nicole Sandilands

Winter weather is upon us, and unfortunately with this weather also comes the dreaded cold and flu season.  I wanted to share some tips and tricks to help boost your little one’s immune system and help to ward off colds and flus.  Below are some of my favourite tips to help keep you and your family healthy this winter!

1)Eat fresh whole foods: Eating a variety of fresh whole foods including plenty of colourful fruits and vegetables is essential to proper immune function.  A good diet will provide your little one’s body with the vitamins and minerals it needs to stay well.  Try sneaking in some extra greens in your child’s diet by adding a few handfuls of spinach or other greens to your favourite winter recipes (soups, stews etc.) or blend up some greens and mix it in with your tomato sauce- they won’t be able to taste the difference. Or one of my favourite ways to sneak greens into my 16 month old’s diet is to make “green pancakes”.  Blend up 2 eggs, 1 banana, ½ cup of oats and a few handfuls of spinach.  Then pan fry in coconut oil until cooked through.  My little guy gobbles these up! A serious mom win!

2)Avoid refined sugars: We all know sugar is not good for us or our kiddos.  Sugar has been known to weaken the immune system and will make your little one more prone to colds and the flu so do your best to cut it out of their diet.

3)Increase vitamin C containing foods: Vitamin C is known to boost our immune function and help prevent colds and the flu. Increase vitamin C containing foods in your child’s diet.  These include: oranges, lemons, grapefruit, strawberries, raspberries, peppers, brussel sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, etc.  Smoothies are a great way to try to pack some of these vitamin C rich food into your child’s diet.

4)Drink up: Ensuring your kids are well hydrated enhances their immune system. You can provide lots of water or some kids love the taste of teas – try lemon, ginger, peppermint etc to mix things up for their little taste buds.

5)Sleep, Sleep, Sleep: Ensure your kids are getting the right amount of sleep for their age.  A sleep deprived child is far more likely to get sick than a well rested kid.  Holly and Laura are the experts here and can definitely help you out on this front if you need support!

6)Probiotics: The beneficial bacteria that live in our digestive system play a very important role in our overall immune function.  Supplementing with probiotics this time of year can be a great way to help keep your child’s immune system revved up.

7)Vitamin D: We know that children who are deficient in this important vitamin tend to have more immune issues and respiratory concerns so make sure you are supplementing with vitamin D in the winter months.

8) Echinacea: Is a great herb with immune boosting properties.  Consider giving it to your child if those around you are getting sick or if you child is starting school or daycare where they will be exposed to many more bugs.  Talk to your naturopathic doctor to see if any of these supplements are right for your child.

8)Wash hands: Washing your child’s hands frequently using warm water and a natural anti-bacterial soap can help prevent the spread of infection.

10)Cover your Cough: Teach your kids to help stop the spread of germs by having them cough into their sleeve and avoid touching their nose, mouth or eyes until their hands have been washed. This can be a work in progress depending on your child’s age, but it’s never too early to start teaching them.

Give these tips a try this winter – I hope this helps to keep you and your family healthy this season!

Durham Natural Health Clinic