Back to School: Immune Health
As we head towards September and the ‘back to school’ campaigns have started for real, it is time to point out that this means that cold and flu season could also be imminent.
WHY SEPTEMBER BRINGS BACK BUGS
In September, raring to go after six weeks at home, we deliver our children back to school. In these enclosed spaces, with warm rooms, and – lets face it – largely unwashed hands, germs have the perfect breading ground. Immune systems are challenged, and slowly but surely the infections start. Most commonly tummy bugs, followed by colds and coughs.
Our little darlings then bring these newfound bugs back into our homes and share them with us – their parents – as well as with their grandparents. We in turn take them into our air-conditioned offices, which are an absolutely perfect environment for transmission.
SO, WHAT CAN WE DO?
Keep the children as healthy as possible! We can try and educate them about the importance of washing their hands, but this may not always be remembered. We can ensure we provide a diet which is as healthy as possible, to try and provide all the nutrients their immune system needs to work properly, but of course, this may not always be possible. The National Diet and Nutrition Survey states that only 10% of 11-18-year olds are achieving their suggested 5 a day! This is where supplements can come in helpful, to fill in some of those gaps and support a healthy immune response.
Vitamin C, Zinc and Vitamin D are all required for healthy functioning of the immune system. It has been noted that many of our children are particularly low in vitamin D, as they spend so much time indoors and then need to be covered in sunscreen before they go out in the sunshine. A supplement which provides some or even all these nutrients would be helpful in trying to keep that immune system working well – and those colds away. Good bacteria can also come into play here, the health of the immune system does also rely, in part, on the health of our internal microbiome. Topping up their good bacteria could also help to keep some of those tummy bugs at bay.
AND FOR THE ADULTS?
We cannot always prevent our children from getting ill – so we also need to think about looking after our own immune systems, to try and keep ourselves fighting fit. As well as those same nutrients – vitamin D, vitamin C and zinc, an ingredient called Beta Glucans has been shown to help cut down the risk of infections by a quarter, so could be worth looking out for.
Written by Jenny Logan DNMed. Jenny is a nutritional therapist who has worked with clients in health food stores and private clinics for over 20 years.