As a parent of a young child, it may feel like you’re on a never-ending
cycle of wiping runny noses, covering coughs, and comforting sick kids.
Rest assured, this is normal.
For many children in their infancy, toddler and preschool years they will
get six to eight colds a year. When this happens depends on how much they
are exposed to germs, i.e. attending daycare and / or older siblings in school.
Young children have immature immune systems and have not yet developed
immunity to a wide variety of common germs.
On top of that, babies, toddlers and young children are extremely physically
engaged in their environment. They touch anything they can get their hands
on and then, inevitably, their hands end up in their mouth and around
their noses and eyes. Little ones have not yet developed the awareness
to keep their hands off their face.
It is important for parents to start healthy hand washing habits as early
as possible. When coming home and before meals, bring your children to
the sink to wash hands. A thorough hand washing includes getting hands
wet, soap, and then make a big bubbly lather by rubbing hands together
(all fingers down to the tips) for 20 seconds (which is about like humming
the song Happy Birthday twice) and rinsing well.
And, when they’re old enough, remind them to keep their hands off
their face until they actually learn to do so.
Ensuring your child receives proper nutrition also is key to warding off
colds. Eating unprocessed, “real” foods — fresh vegetables
and fruits, lean meat, fish, yogurt and milk — is the best diet
Beyond boosting immune health from the inside, new research has found eating
a healthy diet also can help us stave off illness from the outside.
There are trillions of bacteria that find a symbiotic home on and in our
bodies, called our microbiome.
Studies have found that what your child eats can directly affect the skin
and the microbiome. Sugar and processed foods have a negative impact on
the microbiome, while a balanced diet promotes a healthy microbiome.
However, even being diligent with hand washing and healthy eating, your
child still might catch their fair share of colds. Know that this is probably
normal. In the rare case that there might be a more serious condition,
please call your pediatrician.
”Colds are flus” are simply a part of growing up (and growing
an immune system). Our bodies are designed to handle it.