As a parent of a young child, it may feel like you’re on a never-ending cycle of wiping runny noses, covering coughs, and comforting sick kids.
Rest assured, this is normal.
For many children in their infancy, toddler and preschool years they will get six to eight colds a year. When this happens depends on how much they are exposed to germs, i.e. attending daycare and / or older siblings in school.
Young children have immature immune systems and have not yet developed immunity to a wide variety of common germs.
On top of that, babies, toddlers and young children are extremely physically engaged in their environment. They touch anything they can get their hands on and then, inevitably, their hands end up in their mouth and around their noses and eyes. Little ones have not yet developed the awareness to keep their hands off their face.
It is important for parents to start healthy hand washing habits as early as possible. When coming home and before meals, bring your children to the sink to wash hands. A thorough hand washing includes getting hands wet, soap, and then make a big bubbly lather by rubbing hands together (all fingers down to the tips) for 20 seconds (which is about like humming the song Happy Birthday twice) and rinsing well.
And, when they’re old enough, remind them to keep their hands off their face until they actually learn to do so.
Ensuring your child receives proper nutrition also is key to warding off colds. Eating unprocessed, “real” foods — fresh vegetables and fruits, lean meat, fish, yogurt and milk — is the best diet to follow.
Beyond boosting immune health from the inside, new research has found eating a healthy diet also can help us stave off illness from the outside.
There are trillions of bacteria that find a symbiotic home on and in our bodies, called our microbiome.
Studies have found that what your child eats can directly affect the skin and the microbiome. Sugar and processed foods have a negative impact on the microbiome, while a balanced diet promotes a healthy microbiome.
However, even being diligent with hand washing and healthy eating, your child still might catch their fair share of colds. Know that this is probably normal. In the rare case that there might be a more serious condition, please call your pediatrician.
”Colds are flus” are simply a part of growing up (and growing an immune system). Our bodies are designed to handle it.