Your Baby & Toddler - - Colds & Flu - BY TORI HOFF­MANN

Not only is your child’s im­mune sys­tem still quite im­ma­ture and in the process of de­vel­op­ing, mak­ing him more prone to disease, but get­ting sick is par for the course and part of grow­ing up. What’s more, if he’s stuck in­doors at crèche or playschool, be­ing in con­stant and close con­tact with other chil­dren, who might also be har­bour­ing the cold or flu virus, fur­ther com­pro­mises his im­mune sys­tem. Of course, as par­ents, you want to do what­ever you can to keep your­selves and your chil­dren healthy over the win­ter pe­riod. Here, we look at some ways in which you can po­ten­tially boost your lit­tle one’s im­mune sys­tem.


Ac­cord­ing to reg­is­tered phy­tother­a­pist and home­opath from Cape Town, Dr Craig Wright, there are a few broad, gen­eral herbal or home­o­pathic medicines that are known to boost the im­mune sys­tem – par­tic­u­larly where colds and flu are con­cerned – that are eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble and that you can try. “For ba­bies un­der one, I pre­dom­i­nantly rec­om­mend home­o­pathic prod­ucts as they are ab­so­lutely safe,” he says, adding that if he does use herbal medicine for older chil­dren, he only uses what is known to be safe through years of past us­age in medicine.

“Elder­berry is safe to give to ba­bies and chil­dren, as long as you make sure that you’re us­ing the right plant. For ex­am­ple, the Sam­bu­cus ni­gra is the Euro­pean elder­berry. You can ei­ther use ei­ther the berry or the flower ex­tract but the berry works best if used as an im­mune booster and as a preven­ta­tive from au­tumn on­wards,” he ex­plains.

An­other one of Dr Wright’s favourite preven­ta­tive herbs, which is part of the daisy fam­ily and very safe, is Cal­en­dula. “It’s slightly off la­bel but I find it works very well, and bet­ter than Echi­nacea, par­tic­u­larly for Cape win­ters. It’s warm­ing and dry­ing and works well in cold and damp en­vi­ron­ments,” he says. “For a drier cli­mate, I would sug­gest us­ing Echi­nacea, which is an­other well-known im­mune booster that can be found in many over-the-counter prod­ucts. It works re­ally well for any­one that has a blocked-up lym­phatic sys­tem.”

Fi­nally, Dr Wright stresses the ben­e­fits of gar­lic. There are traces of it in some sup­ple­ments but if you can get it into your child, per­haps through his food and prefer­ably raw, then that would be ideal. “At one point gar­lic was known as Rus­sian peni­cillin and it has ex­cel­lent an­tibac­te­rial and an­tivi­ral prop­er­ties,” he says.

Ad­min­is­ter­ing any kind of medicine is al­ways the hard­est part, though. What’s more, lots of herbs are used as tinc­tures, which means there’s al­co­hol in the drops. They there­fore can’t be ad­min­is­tered di­rectly to your baby and Dr Wright thus sug­gests us­ing teas rather than the tinc­tures. For tod­dlers, lit­tle home­o­pathic pills put un­der their tongues works best. How­ever, al­ways con­sult your home­opath or doc­tor be­fore giv­ing any med­i­ca­tion to your baby.


Rose hip has a high vi­ta­min C con­tent, which may help boost the im­mune sys­tem and lessen the du­ra­tion and in­ten­sity of a cold and flu in­fec­tion.

“It was tra­di­tion­ally used in win­ter and au­tumn in Europe where rose hips were har­vested and made into a syrup to fight colds and flu nat­u­rally,” says Dr Wright, adding that many prac­ti­tion­ers use it as a base in chil­dren’s medicines. Med­i­cal opin­ion on the ben­e­fits of vi­ta­min C is di­vided, but Dr Wright be­lieves that it can help to boost the im­mune sys­tem.

He also urges moms to con­sider a vi­ta­min D sup­ple­ment for them­selves and their chil­dren be­cause a vi­ta­min D de­fi­ciency could lead to a de­creased re­sis­tance to in­fec­tion. “Re­search sug­gests that our vi­ta­min D pro­duc­tion is de­creas­ing be­cause of our de­creas­ing ex­po­sure to sun­light, and this has an ef­fect on our im­mu­nity. This is par­tic­u­larly true for ba­bies and chil­dren who are rightly be­ing kept out of the sun be­cause of the risks of skin can­cer and sun da­m­age.

“There are vi­ta­min D sup­ple­ments that are safe to take. If your baby isn’t be­ing breast­fed, then vi­ta­min D might be in the for­mula,

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.