The flu is hitting the U.S. hard and Americans are freaking out. Lines are getting longer at the pharmacy as they stock up on cold medicines and disinfectants. You HAVE to protect your kids and family from the flu season. It seems like you will be shamed for forgetting your antibacterial gel. Especially if your kid got the flu. It’s hard not to get caught up in the frenzy of the flu-freak-out.
Don’t worry everyone- it’s just the flu. I’m here to tell you not to freak out no matter what you see on the news. There are great ways you can build up your kid’s immune system to prevent colds and flus plus some ways to help them support their bodies if they get the flu.
First though…It’s actually good for your kids to get a bit of the flu! It makes for a stronger immune system! A strong immune system is VERY important!
Think of the immune system like a muscle. To get the muscle stronger we need to stress it with some exercise. When we work out, our muscles get sore and ache, but the body adapts to build more muscle that way when we encounter the same amount of stress the body is stronger and better able to handle the exercise. We get fit!
Same way the immune system works. Once our body encounters a pathogen then our immune system creates a memory for life of that pathogen so when we come into contact with that specific pathogen down the road it can easily get rid of the infection and we don’t get sick. By being exposed to illness our immune system gets fitter!
Exposure as a child is even better. There is a specific organ in our body called the thymus and that is where T lymphocytes are fully matured and introduced in the body. T lymphocytes, or T cells, attach to a specific infectious agent and make a memory cell of that infection that you will have for life.
So, you build and strengthen your immune system when you come into contact with infectious agents- colds and flus. Just like when your muscles get sore your body feels kinda sore when you get an illness. Your body gets sick and you get a fever to kill the infection along with the rest of your immune system attacking that infection.
So even though it is hard to see our little ones sick, their bodies are getting stronger! Once the body clears the infection, your body then has an immunity to that infection and your immune system is stronger.
The T cells have a very big part in creating that immunity, but that changes as we age. The thymus is where those t-cells are matured. As we get older the thymus actually starts to atrophy or shrink during the end of puberty and continues to shrink as we age. We want our immune system to be as strong as it can and build it early.
Building up the immune system- Get their bodies ready for the fight
Provide a diet free of sugars and grains.
This is a good suggestion in general, but sugar and gluten will disrupt your gut flora, compromising your immune system. Since 80% of your immune system is in your gastrointestinal tract you can’t afford to attack it. (1)
Make sure they get plenty of Vitamin D.
Between shorter days and cold weather outside we tend to not get enough exposure to the sun during winter months. Give them a supplement and kick those kids outside! Vitamin D is a great resource for avoiding respiratory tract infections- one of the key components to colds and flu. (2) Learn more about Vitamin D
Help them get plenty of sleep.
Your immune system rebuilds, and your body heals while you sleep. Make sure your kids are on a good sleep schedule that allows them to get the rest they need.
Kids need to get active.
Make sure kids aren’t spending those winter days in front of a screen. It’s important for all of us to get active so find physical activities the family can enjoy together and kick those kids outside once in a while.
Get their allergies tested.
This is an important one that many don’t think of. If your child has food sensitivities that will cause inflammation. When we have food allergies we need to create antibodies or memory cells of those foods. When we have food allergies that takes more time and energy to create those antibodies and spreads out and over works our immune system. Our immune system can only do so much. If your child’s body has to send all its fighters to the inflammation, then it won’t have as many fighters to battle those bugs they are exposed to.
Don’t give them the flu vaccine.
I’m going to say that again… don’t give them the flu vaccine. The vaccine causes more harm than good to your child’s immune system. It is full of toxins that weaken your child’s immune system and make them more susceptible to the flu. According to the CDC’s own studies the flu vaccine hasn’t had an effectiveness rate over 60% for the past 13 flu seasons. In 2004-2005 it was only a 10% effectiveness rate. (3) Read our top reasons nobody should get the flu vaccine.
Get your kids adjustments.
Most parents will wait until sickness develops, not knowing that a simple chiropractic adjustment will often prevent the sickness in the first place. By allowing the immune system to develop early you are being proactive. Preventing inflammation and ensuring the nervous system does not have added stress. Studies show increased white blood cells in just 15 minutes after an adjustment.
Don’t use antibacterial soaps or gels
Antibacterial products upset the balance of microorganisms on your skin and in your body. It is horrible for developing immune systems and is not necessary for healthy individuals. Yes, healthy individuals get sick sometimes- it’s ok.
UGH- My kid got the flu, now what?
It sure is hard to see them uncomfortable but if you remember that they are building immunity it will make it easier. Your role isn’t to protect them from being exposed. Its to build their immunity so they can handle exposure and keep comfortable if they do get sick.
Don’t insist on antibiotics.
Antibiotics don’t help. They kill everything. They kill the good guys and the bad guys not allowing your child’s immune system to build. Antibiotics usually just make the parent feel better because they think they are helping but does it make you feel better to know its causing more harm then good? No. So don’t do it.
A few squirts of silver helps.
We love a great broad-spectrum silver around here. Silver hydrosol, a form of colloidal silver, has many properties that will boost your immune system by helping fight those bacteria, viruses and fungi that pass along sickness. It won’t prevent an illness, but it will kill the bad guys. Good news is it doesn’t kill those good guys that fight the illness but boosts them by helping in the fight.
Don’t fight the fevers.
Fever is an effective way to regulate the body and the body is always working to make sure it’s running efficiently. Fever is a way to kill off unwanted bacteria. Check out our article on fevers to learn more.
Draw a warm bath.
A nice warm bath is great for a minor fever and will help it work as it warms the body up. Add some apple cider vinegar with its antibacterial qualities.
Medicinal mushrooms builds immunity.
Warning: these don’t taste like fruity pebbles, but have an earthy flavor. Medicinal mushrooms like reishi and chaga are great for immune support with anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antiviral properties.
Get them an adjustment.
Chiropractic adjustments are great for prevention and also important during an illness. An adjustment will take stress off the nervous system so that the body can focus on fighting the illness.
Keep echinacea on hand.
We use a high-quality echinacea tincture at first symptoms. Only give to those you really love because it tastes strong and the flavor lingers. So you have to make sure your love is strong or they will hate you for it. They will love how it shortens that cold or flu though.
If it doesn’t linger you don’t have a high-quality herb. A high-quality echinacea will enhance the immune system, promote healthy white blood cells, and encourage healthy upper respiratory function.
Essential oils can’t hurt.
Oils can be great. A little peppermint or eucalyptus rubbed on the chest or rubbed on the feet can help with symptoms. Oregano oil also has antibacterial qualities.
Send them to school if its just the sniffles.
If they can still learn they are ok to go to school. If they are hacking and puking than they will be uncomfortable and unable to learn. But if they just have a bit of sore throat or a little cough they are fine. Get them to school. They will be stronger for it.
Keep on building strong immune systems in the flu season
Your body is strong when its younger. Its much more resilient and can handle more. Your kids are strong! That’s why it’s easier for kids to get sick and bounce back right away. They will if their body is functioning the way it should be- if they don’t easily bounce back they need to be tested to see what’s not functioning. When they bounce back they will have that built up immunity for the rest of their lives!
Don’t worry about making sure your family is slathered in antibacterial gel. Love your kids and don’t get caught up in the flu freak out. You are building strong immune systems.
Written By Dr. Mitch Sutton