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The human immune system is extremely complex – it therefore takes several years for it to fully develop. At the beginning of its life, the unborn child is still supplied with antibodies via the maternal placenta; this supply continues later via breast milk. In the course of the first year of life, however, the protection slowly diminishes. At this time, however, the child’s own immune system is not yet fully developed. Early childhood is therefore marked by many different infections, which are accompanied by a strengthening of the immune system.
So strengthening the immune system in children means having a lot of patience. Learn here how you can support your child on its way.
Building the immune system in children: A long way
As the protection of the maternal antibodies diminishes, the child’s organism begins to produce antibodies for the „specific defence“ on its own. This immune defence is only developed through direct contact with pathogens. Keeping the child away from any “danger” is therefore not recommended: children need contact with different pathogens in order to build up a strong immune system.
Vaccinations help the body to defend itself against serious diseases. In order to strengthen the immune system, it is therefore recommended that infants have all necessary and recommended vaccinations.
Is my child susceptible to infection – or is that normal?
Especially when playing, children have close contact with each other – therefore the risk of infection is higher with them than with adults. In kindergarten or school, shared toys or left-over handkerchiefs ensure that pathogens are spread quickly. In the first four years of life, up to twelve simple respiratory diseases a year are therefore considered normal. Although this can sometimes be troublesome, it strengthens the children’s immune system in the long term. The good news is that the number of infections decreases as the child grows older.
On average, children are actually much more often ill than adults. However, they are only considered to be susceptible to infections when diseases occur more frequently than ten to twelve times a year, last for a very long time or are accompanied by complications.
Strengthening the immune system in children – this is how it works
It is neither possible nor particularly effective to protect children from all diseases. However, with a few simple measures you can do a lot to strengthen your child’s immune system in the long term.
Fresh air strengthens the immune system
Dry heating air can irritate the mucous membranes in winter. Bacteria and viruses penetrate dried out mucous membranes more easily – therefore ensure a good indoor climate wherever possible. The humidity indoors should be at least 30 percent and the room temperature should be around 22 degrees. Strong ventilation – preferably several times a day – contributes to a good air humidity.
Your child’s mucous membranes will also enjoy a daily walk in the fresh air. Fresh oxygen, exercise and sunlight stimulate the blood circulation, promote the production of vitamin D, relieve the lymphatic system and strengthen the immune system.
Hygiene prevents diseases
Regular hand washing can prevent infection, especially after contact with the sick or when using public transport. However, antibacterial soaps or disinfectants are not recommended for regular personal hygiene: they damage the body’s natural bacterial barrier.
Increase immune activity with Kneipp cures
Kneipp cures can be used to strengthen the immune system in children. Cold and warm alternating baths are given to the legs to increase the immune activity. The younger the child is, the smaller the temperature differences should be: The child’s heat balance is more sensitive than that of adults.
Offer a varied diet
A balanced diet should provide the child with abundant nutrients, vitamins, vegetable protein and dietary fibre – usually no additional administration of food supplements is necessary.
- Vitamin A is essential for the development of the mucous membranes.
- Vitamin C makes white blood cells work more effectively.
- Vitamin E has a positive effect on the activity of the defence cells.
- Plant protein is used for the formation of antibodies in the blood.
- Dietary fibres are essential for the intestinal flora.
Support the intestinal flora
A total of over 100 trillion bacteria live in the human intestine. They produce vital enzymes, support the absorption of nutrients and neutralize pollutants and germsthat are absorbed with food. If you want to strengthen your child’s immune system, you should also think about the intestines. A varied and fibre-rich nutrition and sufficient exercise are beneficial for a balanced bacteria population in the intestine.
The intestinal test INTEST.pro from BIOMES is suitable for adolescents and adults aged 15 and over. Soon BIOMES will also launch INTEST.pro KIDS für for children under 14 years. Together you will then gain insights into the diversity of microorganisms in this very important digestive organ. Based on the test evaluation, possible weak points in the intestinal flora and thus also in the immune defense can be identified. The BIOMES scientists will provide you with a lot of information and you will find out if there is a concrete need for action. They also give you tips on how you can support your child’s immune system even better.
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