Am I damaging my child’s immune system?

Australian GP, Dr Ginni Mansberg shares the simple ways you can help your sick child.

Many parents are justifiably worried because their children are “always sick”. They fear their children’s immune systems are working sub optimally.

The good news is that while these infections are annoying, they are rarely dangerous. The average child has eight upper respiratory tract infections a year, with up to 12 infections a year being normal, especially if the child is in childcare.

Children in childcare get three times the number of coughs and colds each year compared to kids cared for at home.

Each cold however gives symptoms that last an average of 14 days.

The most important thing you can do for your child to keep their immune system running at full capacity is to make sure they get enough good quality sleep and teach them good hygiene habits, like hand washing, especially before eating.

It helps to remind parents and carers to wash their hands scrupulously before preparing food or feeding a child.

You can also try a probiotic, Vitamin D or Vitamin C to reduce the number, length or severity of viral illnesses. Multivitamins, zinc and echinacea won’t do much.

Lastly, make sure your child is vaccinated. Coughs, colds and gastro viruses are bad enough. Meningococcal, HIB and even flu can be deadly.

Catch up on the full episode of The House of Wellness TV show to see more expert health advice from Ed, Zoe and the team.

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