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When Your Child Gets Sick: Boosting kids' immunity and focusing on prevention are critical, says Dr. Adrienne Stewart

Aug 05, 2014 09:38AM ● By Dr. Adrienne Stewart

It is hard to watch children's spirits droop when they become sick. Canceling birthday parties or family events is no fun. Plus, it is common for the entire household to get sick at the same time. The best strategy is to help support their bodies' own natural healing ability. It's amazing how resilient many children are and how quickly they heal when given the right support. In no time, they will recover their energy and spirits.

Boost Kids’ Immunity

Boost your child's immunity by making conscious decisions in their diet. For example, cut out sugar by reading food labels. So many “kid-friendly” foods are loaded with sugar and artificial colors. Make sure to also increase fruit and veggies to provide immune-strengthening nutrients. Adding in certain herbs and nutrients can also boost immunity such as probiotics, sambucus, vitamins C, A, and D, Echinacea or zinc.

Don't panic if a child is running a low-grade fever. This is the body’s normal defense mechanism to fight off infections. It’s important not to suppress it as long as it isn’t getting too high. But make sure the child is drinking lots of fluids to prevent dehydration during a fever. Homeopathy can be a great and safe therapy. Make sure to ask a doctor which remedy best matches a child's symptoms. Taking the right remedy can help symptoms within a few hours.

Children need extra sleep while they are sick. Make sure to keep the room dark and try a humidifier to moisten the air and clear nasal passageways.

Focus on Prevention

They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Try to prevent illness in the first place by washing hands and avoiding contact with kids who have fevers or colds. It’s okay if a parent or child gets sick occasionally; it actually makes our immune systems stronger. However, frequent infections could be a sign that our system is out of balance.

If a child gets sick with frequent ear infections, rashes, tummy aches or colds, consider testing for food allergies and sensitivities with a naturopathic doctor. It is possible to test as early as 6 months old to find out what foods to avoid. Common culprits are dairy, eggs and gluten. It is also possible to be sensitive to other foods that are considered healthy or other foods they are eating on a regular basis.

While the first sign of an illness can make parents worry, it is important to trust the incredible healing power of the body. By supporting our bodies with high-quality nutrients, rest and sleep, birthday parties and family events can be that much more enjoyable.

Dr. Adrienne Stewart is a naturopathic physician practicing at Integrative Health, in Scottsdale, concentrating on fertility, preconception health and environmental medicine. For more information, visit

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