The common cold to most moms must be what the paparazzi are like to celebrities. Around every public corner, there lurks the potential of being attacked by an opportunist. Children, especially toddlers, are constantly being bombarded with new germs that can cause something as simple as a common cold to something more serious like RSV (Respiratory syncytial virus). Moms know all too well that the personality of a cold is different for every child and different at every age. Until a child is six years of age, the ear canal has not matured, leaving children more susceptible to ear infections, which translates to antibiotics and potentially, chronic ear infections.
When a concerned mother comes to me asking for advice on how to keep her children off of antibiotics, I give her some suggestions and arm her with some tools.
Here are my top 3 supplements to give a child to boost their immune system:
– Probiotic – Nature’s Way Primadophilus or Pedia-lax Probiotic Yums for the most pickiest of palates
– Hero’s Yummy Bears Organics Immunity Health
– Pediatric Yin Qiao – CQ Jr. from bluepoppy.com
Then I give her a neti pot, especially made for kids made by Nasopure, and a link that captures a young boy using the neti pot, who then teaches his 4 yr old sister how to use a neti pot, who then, in turn, teaches her 2-year-old sister how to use a neti pot as well. How do kids learn fastest? From other kids! Here’s a video.
I also advise for mothers to bring their children in to see me at the first sign of a cold. Attack a cold at an early stage and you may be able to prevent a long week of coughing, runny nose, and potentially antibiotics. I recently came upon a clinical trial for patients diagnosed with cancer undergoing chemotherapy who had acupuncture everyday. This group of patients’ T cells and NK cell activity didn’t go down . This shows how much acupuncture can do for your immune system!
When a child does come into my office, I will either give them acupressure, acupuncture, or laser acupuncture, depending on their age and tolerance. Children under 5 usually won’t be too keen on needles so I have the option of using laser acupuncture, which is painless and fascinating all at the same time to a child. I once had a boy, 4 years of age, so relaxed after doing laser acupuncture on him that he put his head on my lap and almost fell asleep. Another child, who had a runny nose and no appetite, responded within an hour to the laser acupuncture. Her nose stopped running and she ate her whole dinner an hour later. It usually takes one to three treatments to treat a cold naturally with acupuncture and herbs. Sometimes the treatments will not get rid of the symptoms all together but will expedite the healing process cutting the sick time in half. Other times a treatment can prevent a cold from entering the chest, which is what I am most afraid of for my kids because bad coughs can last several days and can turn into something more serious, like bronchitis or pneumonia.
Other suggestions include stopping all dairy intake for 3-5 days. Dairy can cause mucous, which doesn’t help a runny nose, phlegm filled cough, or a potential ear infection. Also, keep the sugar in the cupboard! Sugar breaks down the immune system and breeds bad bacteria in the body. I put on my sergeant’s hat when my kids have a cold and I become strict about giving them healthy foods. Processed foods go on the top shelf and I arm my kitchen with lots of fresh fruits and delicious homemade meals so that when they’re hungry, I have something to give them instead of chips, cookies, and other junky type foods.
Here are my top 3 recipes for strengthening your family’s immune system.
1. Chicken soup with vegetables, rice and ginger (This recipe has zinc and vitamin C for an immune system boost, and gelatin from the whole chicken to improve the digestion)
3 lbs of chicken, whole organic chicken is best
5 organic carrots chopped
5 organic celery stalks chopped
1 large onion chopped
Small cube of ginger sliced
1 cup cooked brown rice
Water to cover
Salt and pepper to taste
Organic chicken bouillon for taste (optional)
Put the chicken, carrots, celery and onion in a large soup pot cover with cold water. Heat and simmer, uncovered, until the
chicken meat falls off of the bones. Skim the top of anything
undesirable every so often.
Then take out the chicken and pick the meat off of the bones, cut up to desired size, and return to the soup. Season with salt, pepper, and bouillon, if desired. Remove the ginger. Add the cooked rice and serve warm.
2. Fruit Smoothie (This recipe is chocked full of vitamins and antioxidants)
*½ cup frozen organic wild berries
*½ cup of frozen organic pineapple
¾ cup of kale
1 cup of Coconut water (fruit flavored)
A small tablespoon of Very Green from Trader Joe’s
½ cup of almond or coconut milk
*substitute with any fruit you wish
BLEND BABY BLEND!
3. Kale and Spinach Bites (This recipe has vitamin C and iron to help boost your immune system and enrich your blood cell count)
I found this recipe on 2sistersrecipes.com and discovered my children and their friends really liked them! I make a large batch now and freeze it so I have a go to appetizer partially ready whenever I go on a play date.
1 small yellow onion – chopped
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. salted butter
6 ounce package of organic fresh baby spinach or 5 oz frozen bag
2 cups packed with fresh kale, rinsed
1 large green onion
2/3 cup panko breadcrumbs, plus extra for coating at the end
½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat over to 375 degrees
In a frying pan, heat and melt butter with olive oil. Add yellow onion and sauté until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add spinach and kale and cook until they wilt, about 1 to 2 minutes.
Place cooked contents into a food processor along with one coarsely chopped scallion and pulse for several seconds. Transfer mixture to a medium bowl.
Add one egg, 2/3 cup of panko breadcrumbs, and parmesan cheese. Mix with a spoon until well combined. Add salt and black pepper to taste.
In a small bowl or dish, pour some panko breadcrumbs. Take a teaspoon full of the spinach and kale mixture into your hand. Make a small ball with your hands and then gently roll ball into panko crumbs to coat. Lightly spray cooking sheet with cooking spray and place veggie balls on the sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Serve warm.
Photo Credit: Harmon. Flickr.