In last year one topic which has got its long due importance is “immunity”. Before this dreadful pandemic, we were never so concerned about immunity and now we are trying everything under the sun to get that extra immunity power’. But then people do fall ill. So will your little one; so how many times is it ok for your munchkin to fall sick in a year?
From Birth To 5 Months:
If you are exclusively breastfeeding except for mild nasal block or vaccination fever for a day, your child may not need to visit the paediatrician. For that make sure breastfeeding mothers eat well and eat healthy.
6 Months To 1 Year:
Once we introduce food to the child and he starts crawling 1-2 episodes of diarrhoea is absolutely ok. A viral illness may occur where your kid has a fever lasting for 3-4 days. A fever could also be due to teething. Now, this is normally around 9-10months and just before or after his 1st birthday!!
1 Year To 2 Years :
This is the time when what you feed your child and environmental factors come into play and it would depend on what they eat, who they play with etc.
2 Years Onwards:
A mild cough and a running nose with season change (in India season changes 4 times) is absolutely normal. But if that is associated with high fever lasting for days requiring antibiotics we have to work on our child’s immune system.
What To Do To Boost Immunity
What To Avoid If Possible
Avoid Antibiotics: Wait for at least 4-5days of fever (only if your child is otherwise active & your doc can’t find an infection source) before starting any antibiotics. 1 course of antibiotics may do more harm in terms of immunity then benefit. If required your doctor might prescribe an antibiotic but don’t self medicate.
Avoid Preservatives: I have observed that kids who are on juices tetra packs, processed chips and other packaged foods have more sore throats and strep. throats than kids on a home diet. So offer them homemade juices and homemade chips rather than junk!
Avoid White Sugar: White sugar may not directly harm the immune system but adversely affects a child’s attention span, his overactivity and his appetite!
Avoid Constipation: Constipation can not only lead to stomach aches & loss of appetite but also to chronic fatigue.
What Your Child Needs More Of
Breastfeeding: The chances of asthma are 50% less in kids who are exclusively breastfed for at least 4 months. Try to exclusively breastfeed your angel till 5 months and continue breastfeeding with complementary feeding for at least 15 months.
Food Fortification: This is one thing which in India can reduce a lot of hospital admissions and malnutrition. From day 1 of life make sure you supplement your kid with correct doses of vitamin D and even after 1st year of life do it on a regular basis.
- Zinc Rich Diet: Add these to your child’s meal plan – pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, cashews ( other than legumes, whole grains, meat, eggs
- Vitamin A ( crucial for respiratory immunity): Carrot, pumpkin or squash, yellow bell pepper, broccoli ( other than tuna, musk melon etc.) are abundant in this vitamin.
- Iron Deficiency: This is one of the common reasons for falling sick and being CRANKY. It is difficult to get enough iron from food sometimes and iron supplements /iron-fortified food products are an easier and sure-shot way to cover the deficiency.
- Try And Give Them An Egg: A vegetarian diet would always keep your child on a lower level of vitamin and zinc as the amount required would be more than how much a kid can consume. So if feasible give them a lot of lean chicken and fish; if not at least 1 egg a day can give them lots of protein!!
- Paya or Kharode Soup: This is an excellent remedy for cough and cold and is full of nourishment.
Playing Outdoors: Reducing time on electronic gadgets and increasing outdoor activities can have an excellent effect on their growth and immunity. Playing under the sun and in dust would make them fall sick once or twice but would give them life long immunity.
Add These Natural Immunity Boosters To Meals
- Curd: This is excellent not only for gut immunity but for overall good health. if not refrigerated it can be even given in winters when cold!!
- Garlic: You can start adding it to their food by the time they turn 7months old and should be part of your child’s daal/ soup
- Vitamin C Rich Fruits : Aamla / citrus fruits/broccoli / potato with peel
- Superfoods: Avocado if easily available are excellent for kids. Also amaranth leaves ( chaulai ke patte) and flax seeds ( alsi ke beej)
If you have questions you would like answers to, please do talk to us in the comments below. We will try and get them answered.