By Dr. Andrew Hall
Here in Overland Park, immunity is a big buzz word right now. And it should be.
Having strong immunity is one of the foundations for a strong and healthy body. But most people don’t realize how to achieve strong immunity. Most of the population doesn’t know that some habits decrease our bodies immunity and ability to fight off infections, bad bacteria, and toxins in the environment. They also don’t realize that having poor immunity can cause a host of health issues that don’t seem like immune issues but are.
This is especially true for our children.
As our kids are heading back to school there are a lot of unknowns facing them for the school year. They are being asked to adapt in ways they have never had to and face challenges that they have never had to face.
In our practice, we have had a lot of parents come to us with questions about how to help their kids prepare for the school year and stay safe as they face these new challenges. That is why we have created this article with our Top 5 Tips to Boost your Child’s Immunity as they head back to school.
# 1 Sleep
Sleep is a superpower!
Quality sleep is an absolute requirement for a healthy child.
Do you have a constantly grumpy or anxious teenager? Maybe it’s a kiddo that is having trouble concentrating during school? Do you have a child that is constantly sick and catches everything?
Put. Them. To. Bed.
Mood, concentration levels, pain levels, and yes, healthy immunity are all linked to sleep.
Our bodies regulate hormones during sleep, process learned information from the previous day, and increases the immune response to foreign invaders.
Your children need lots of sleep.
Between the ages of 3-12, they need 10-12 hours per night. The average teenager needs at least 8 to 10 hours per night.
Based on circadian rhythms, the most important hours for kids to be sleeping are between 10pm-2am. This is when the body and the brain are achieving the deepest levels of REM and doing the most repair.
When in doubt, go to bed!
# 2 Vitamin D
The British Medical Journal published a paper in 2017 investigating Vitamin D and its effect on immunity against respiratory infections like the common cold, and coronaviruses-a family of viruses that cause colds.
The results show that taking a moderate dose of vitamin D daily or weekly helps to protect users from respiratory infections. Vitamin D also aids in hormone regulation, increased energy, and cancer-fighting.
Unsurprisingly, vitamin D supplements were most helpful for study participants who started out deficient in the vitamin, but the supplements can help even those who aren’t. Most of us are deficient because of winter and poor diet. We recommend a dose of 1,000 to 5,000 daily. The less bodyweight your child has, the less amount they need.
# 3 Cut Back on Sugar
Most parents don’t know this: sugar destroys parts of the immune system.
High fructose corn syrup, found in sodas, candy and many processed food products (check the ketchup and other condiments in your pantry, it’s probably a main ingredient), destroys white blood cells.
White blood cells are one of the key components of a healthy immune system.
All sugars have a negative effect on the immune system, so dramatically reducing the amount of sugar your kids eat will not only help boost the immune system, but will give them better energy, make them less fidgety, help them sleep and avoid unnecessary weight gain.
# 4 Physical Play
Your kids need to move! A LOT!
It doesn’t take a lot of at-home-schooling to realize that your kids need to move! And if they don’t get to move their attention levels fade and their mood decreases.
But did you know that movement boosts the immune system? Specifically, physical play outdoors.
Our children need fresh air, physical movement and social engagement through play and exercise. (They really aren’t much different then your dog. 🙂 )
Physical activity and play burns off extra stress hormones, so it increases their body’s ability to fight off infections, decreases the chances of asthma/allergies and yes, will help protect them against viruses.
It will also help them concentrate during school, crave healthy foods and set them up to get a great night’s sleep.
So take a break from the Zoom calls and laptop work, both kids and adults, and go for walk, throw the ball, shoot some hoops and just get outside and move!!!
# 5 Spinal Check-ups and Adjustments
Chiropractic has a long history of helping people deal with immune issues, specifically kids.
From ear infections, digestive issues, to asthma and allergies, chiropractors have been helping children deal with the symptoms from these health issues.
The reason why is quite simple: your nervous system runs everything in your body, including immunity. If the nervous system is compromised, then the body is compromised and can’t be as health as it should be.
How would you know if you child has an issue that a chiropractor can help with? Simple, a spinal check-up.
Just like your dentist, pediatrician and optometrist want to do a check-up on your kids to make sure that their teeth, bodily development and eyes are developing the way they should, we chiropractors want to perform a spinal check-up to make sure your child’s nervous system and spine are developing the way they should.
The check-ups are non-invasive, easily explained and are usually done in less then an hour. Sometimes we take x-rays, sometimes we don’t; it’s based on what your child needs and what they are presenting with. Either way, we will explain exactly what we are going to do and why we are doing it.
We would love to help your children be as healthy as possible during this season of change and challenge!
8665 W 96th St. Suite #203, Overland Park, KS 66212 | 913-624-3888 | wellspinekc.com