Fighting colds and flu: How to boost your kids immunity naturally

Most children will develop six to 10 colds a year, experts say

ORLANDO, Fla. – Cold and flu season is in full swing, and kids are getting hit hard.

In fact, children in many parts of the country are crowding emergency rooms due to these illnesses. Most kids will develop six to 10 colds a year. But there are ways to boost their immunity.

“There are so many natural ways to bolster immunity,” Roland Gutierrez, MD, a pediatrician, said.

The best immune booster is plain water.

“I tell parents that the best expectant or cough syrup in the world is water. If you don’t have enough water in your system, you can’t get rid of the infection that’s already brewing,” Gutierrez said.

Kids aged one to three should drink about four cups of liquids a day. That increases to five cups a day for kids four to eight, and seven to eight cups for older children.

Diet and nutrition are also vital for preventing illnesses. And so are nutrients like Omega 3, which is found in fish and Vitamin D, which is absorbed from the sun.

“Without Vitamin D, our immune systems can’t protect us,” Gutierrez said.

Probiotics may be another way to boost kids’ immune systems. Foods like yogurt, pickles, and sauerkraut contain probiotics.

Getting plenty of exercise can also keep your child’s immune system in tip top shape, as can sleep. Toddlers should get 11 to 14 hours of sleep a day. For preschoolers, it’s 10 to 13 hours. For school age kids, it’s roughly nine to 12 hours, and teens should get between eight to 10 hours of shut eye.

Researchers have recently found that the flu and a seasonal common cold virus called RSV can combine to create two new hybrid viruses.

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