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Does your child fall sick often? These 8 habits might be reducing his immunity

Ashwin Dewan Ashwin Dewan 6 Mins Read

Ashwin Dewan Ashwin Dewan


Do you wonder why your child is falling sick frequently despite giving him healthy food and following the vaccination schedule meticulously? It could be a sign of low immunity

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Does your child fall sick often? These 8 habits might be reducing his immunity

Sanjana Basu, a seemingly healthy adult, recounts her experience of chronic cold as a child. Sanjana was perpetually sick until the age of 12. She had a runny nose and was coughing throughout the day at school, much to the despair of her parents. The teachers worried other children in class may contract her condition. Sanjana's mother tried her grandma's home remedies but they didn't work. She even stopped her from going out to play for a whole year. Nothing seemed to work.

Sanjana remembers how her parents ran from pillar to post looking for a cure. Then, they met a doctor who asked Sanjana's parents about her habits - proper hygiene, love for sugar-laden goodies, and more. Then he assured them that changes to her lifestyle would improve her immunity. Sanjana started to mend her habits and outgrew her tendency to fall sick.

Sanjana is not alone. There are many children who suffer from weak immunity. According to a report by the World Health Organization, the number of children suffering from asthma has doubled since 1980 in developed countries. Factors such as poor nutrition, pollution, a sedentary lifestyle, and stress are wreaking havoc on the immunity of children. As parents, what are we doing to ensure our child's immunity is strong? For, a strong immune system is essential for your child to grow up into a healthy adult.

The more the child is exposed to the germs in the environment around him, the better his immunity. But, there are certain habits your child may develop as he grows that may hamper the development of his immunity such as not sleeping enough and overusing antibiotics. Let us look at 8 bad habits that can hurt your child's immunity.

1. Lack of outdoor play

Is your child a couch potato? Does he prefer whiling away his time watching cartoons or playing games? If so, it is time you encouraged him to get some outdoor activity. An inactive child will have a weak immunity as lack of exercise will stagnate disease-fighting cells. Time spent outdoors also ensures your child gets his required dose of vitamin D, which helps in enhancing immunity.

What you can do

Talk to your child to find out if he is interested in a particular sport. Support him by accompanying him for the training. Take him out to play in the neighborhood park after school and during weekends. Set aside a time every week for him to play.

2. Not enough sleep

Lack of sleep can seriously affect your child's immunity. Your child will require at least 10 to 14 hours of sleep per day depending on his age. Staying up late, playing games on the computer, or fidgeting with a smartphone can reduce your child's chances of falling asleep early.

Less sleep causes stress that prevents oxygen from circulating freely in the brain. This can lower his immune system and make him more vulnerable to germs.

What you can do

Limit the use of gadgets during the night. Ensure the bedroom is dark and quiet and conducive to sleeping.
8 Habits That Can Weaken A Child's Immunity

3. Overuse of antibiotics

Every time you rush to the doctor when your child is ill, there is a chance that an antibiotic is prescribed. Excessive antibiotic use can lead to antibiotic resistance in your child. It also weakens your child's immune system.

What you can do

Do not resort to antibiotics for every little illness. Try to see if there are alternate cures or home remedies available.

4. Lack of hygiene

If your child is not practicing hygiene, it can expose her body to more germs leading to a weak immune system. Not washing her hands before eating, not brushing her teeth properly, dirty and untrimmed nails are all unhygienic habits that can weaken the immune system.

What you can do

Teach your child good hygiene from an early age. Encourage her to wash her hands when she comes back home after a game or before she sits down to eat. Make trimming nails a weekly practice. Your child will get into the routine with ease and she will grow up with a strengthened immunity.

5. Not expressing feelings

Some children tend to keep their troubles and problems to themselves. However little they may seem, these stressors can, in the long run, impact the child's health. Constant worry about a friend not talking at school, a poor score in tests, or about a bully in the bus can lead to decreased immunity due to an increase in the levels of stress.

What you can do

Allow your child to perform at her pace. Do not push her to achieve more than what she is capable of. Teach your child relaxation techniques like yoga. Encourage her to express any concerns she may have at school. Listen patiently when she talks so that she knows she can confide in you without fear of judgment.

6. Eating an unhealthy diet

You are what you eat, goes an old saying. A healthy and nutritious diet is one way of ensuring your child's immunity is strong. If your child is regularly consuming a diet high in additives, preservatives, and sugar, it can adversely affect digestion and increase inflammation leading to weak immunity.

8 Habits That Can Weaken A Child's Immunity
What you can do

Make sure your child eats fresh and wholesome food regularly. Make it a practice to include 5 servings of fruits and vegetables in your family's diet every day.

7. Exposure to second-hand smoke

Exposure to smoke, even if it is second-hand, is extremely harmful to your child's immunity. Children are more susceptible to second-hand smoke because their lungs are not well developed. Exposure to passive smoking tampers with the innate immunity of your child putting her at greater risk for bronchitis, asthma, and even cancer.

What you can do

Keep your child away from smoking zones. Encourage any member of the family who smokes to quit smoking.

8. Not staying hydrated

Although your child may not need the same quantity of water as you do, she will still need to consume a quantity that is adequate enough for the proper functioning of her digestive system. Proper digestion helps in the good absorption of nutrients by the body resulting in better immunity. Water also flushes out toxins making it easier for the body to fight germs.

What you can do

Make sure your child drinks plenty of fluids every day. Encourage her to drink water every few hours even if she does not feel thirsty.

In conclusion, let us learn from the WHO, which has beautifully stressed the importance of protecting our children from diseases in a poster contest. In the same way, the onus is on us to recognize the risk of diseases to our child so that we can take appropriate steps to protect our little ones - the future of this world.

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