Winter lovers are usually non-moms. Sounds weird? Not at all; winter scares moms. Repeated flus and fevers and potential infections in winter are every mother’s nightmare, especially working moms. Consultant of Pediatrics, Dr. Mohammed Gameel Gad Allah, tells us why children get sick in winter and how to boost their immunity.
How is immunity formed?
Newborns acquire immunity from their mothers. The overall health and immunity strength during infancy starts with a healthy pregnancy. The mom-to-be should make sure she is getting all the nutrition and vitamins the body needs, especially calcium, iron, and omega-3 because she’ll provide that for her newly born child.
Colostrum -which is the yellowish breastmilk that’s released within the 48 hours following delivery- is the best source of Immunoglobulin A (IgA) which is one of the strongest antibodies. As they grow, children gradually depend less on this acquired immunity and start to develop their own antibodies.
Primary Immune Deficiency (PID)
PID is a condition that’s very severe and extremely rare. The symptoms of PID are pretty major such as pneumonia, repeated appearance of outer or inner abscesses or purulence that isn’t drained after taking antibiotics. If your child is repeatedly sick, it doesn’t mean that they have PID.
Immunity issues during winter: Who is to blame?
Recurring flu and fever, and other infections are mostly caused by our behavior as parents and not due to an immunity deficiency. Sick children who are sent to school or nursery are a hazard and could potentially infect other children who’ll definitely re-infect others.
What makes the child more vulnerable to illness?
- Interacting with ill children/people.
- Vitamins and minerals deficiency especially vitamins A, D and E, and iron.
- Poor nutrition.
How can I boost my child’s immunity and overall health?
Introduce foods rich in:
- Iron: Found in liver, meat, spinach, and eggs. There’s a misconception that molasses is a good source of iron. However, the body doesn’t easily absorb the iron in it, and it might have other additives.
- Calcium and vitamin D: Found in dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and cheese.
- Omega-3: Found in oily fish such as salmon, nuts, and avocado.
- Vitamin C: Found in citrus fruit such as orange and lemon, as well as kiwi.
- Vitamin A: Found in carrots and sweet potatoes.
- Vitamin E: Found in nuts and seeds.
Nutritious and vitamin-rich foods are good ways to allow the body to produce antibodies that boost your child’s immunity and overall health. However, the most important thing to fight your child’s repeated illness is to separate them from infected children. That applies to you as well, if your child is ill, please avoid sending him/her to the school or nursery to prevent further infection.