Sick Kids – Winter Wellness Plan
This time of year is tough. Lots of viruses are going around daycare centres and schools. It can feel relentless especially as it takes a month to move through the whole family. The aim of advice is not to stop the viruses from coming – impossible task. But to support the body to move the virus out quickly, strengthen the immune system and repair once it’s gone.
I know everyone says that it’s normal for kids to get really sick in the first year of daycare. It’s not ‘normal’, it’s common. It is definitely not normal for them and you to be constantly sick. The immune system needs time to recover.
Keep in mind that your immune response is dependent on two things –
- The strength of your immune system
- The strength of the pathogen/bacteria/virus
Weak immune system + weak pathogen = mild symptoms
Weak immune system + strong pathogen = strong symptoms and lingering post viral phase
Strong immune system and weak pathogen = mild symptoms
Strong immune system and strong pathogen = intense acute symptoms, but shorter post viral phase and recovery
Immunology is one of the fastest growing areas of medicine. Meaning it is the basis for so many health conditions. Fertility and pregnancy is one of those areas. Recurrent miscarriage, implantation failure, poor egg and sperm quality, health conditions in children….
We don’t know the long term effects of unsupported childhood illnesses and chronic stress to the immune system.
So I take immune support very seriously for my girls. I have preventative things I do for them, active illness support and then post viral support.
In 3 years, Harriet has only had 3 days off daycare/pre prep and Elsie just one in 12 months (today). My husband and I have had one sick day off between us since having the girls in daycare/pre prep. It can be expensive to support your family’s immune system, but I would say the long term cost is higher in not.
So here is some general advice for what I do for my family to prevent and support illness.
- keep warm – warm feet, warm low backs, warm bellies, warm and covered neck/shoulders. I know kids say they’re not cold. Our kids don’t get a choice if they want to go outside in winter. No jumper, no outside play. No socks on, no outside play.
- Tip – if your child has constant, clear, runny nose, they are cold
- lots of water and food with fluids – chicken soup, watermelon, protein smoothies, vegetable juices, coconut water
- add chicken bone broth to all meals – spaghetti bolognaise, soups, sauces for pasta
- ensure enough protein and fat in diet – avocado, fish/fish oils/protein shakes/hearty casseroles/add butter to everything if not dairy intolerant
- supplement with vitamin c, vitamin d, cod liver oil, fish oil and iron – dosages are age dependent
- avoid being outside between 3-6pm when it’s cold – in Chinese medicine, this is the time when you’re most susceptible to getting sick. Kids recovering from colds, at a park at 4pm with no jumper or socks on just not something you’ll ever see me doing
- early bed times – 630pm/730pm. In Chinese medicine, the earlier before 11pm you get to bed, the better your immune system will feel. Children need more sleep than us, they need to not be overtired or exhausted every night going to bed
- avoid too many busy weekends in a row – this one can be hard if you’re social but I would really suggest making every second or third weekend a quiet weekend through winter – cook together, read together, do slow activities together
- encourage to eat as much as possible
- increase dosages of supplements – age dependent
- pain relief medicine where needed
- salt nasal sprays
- encourage bowel movements – ‘purging’ via the bowels is a good way to move out a pathogen
- homemade ‘vicks’ with essential oil and coconut oil to put on hands, feet, chest and back
- stay inside and warm
- lots of fluids
- special treats – my girls know that if they’re staying home sick, they get a kids magazine and a yogo and it boosts spirits a little. Lots of tv time helps too. Lots of cuddles of course
- maintain supplement dosages for 1 week post
- symptomatic relief of cough and congestion
- use symptoms to determine when to get back to normal activities, even if that means missing out on planned activities
It sounds like a lot. But when you include this as your winter wellness plan, it will help your kids and your family so very much.
Please get in touch if you have any questions.