Most kids will not get the virus that badly, but we are acutely aware that more kids have ended up in hospital with the new strain of Covid-19. Our clinic diaries are pretty packed with Long Covid kids from the first wave, so we definitely cannot be complacent. Keeping their immune systems robust is the key to keeping your kids healthy now they’re back at nursery.
What can you do to keep your child healthy at school during the pandemic?
Avoid refined sugar and white carbohydrates
Refined sugar and white carbohydrates are known to reduce white blood cell count and you need these fighter cells to be abundant to help fight winter viruses. Swap to honey (NHS approved for cough – we particularly love Jarrah honey for kiddies) or maple syrup (naturally contains zinc) & pick wholegrain pasta, bread and rice where possible. Breakfast cereals are one of the biggest sources of refined sugar, so consider a warm bowl of porridge with berries and honey over the bought stuff or even boil an egg or two!
Fruit and vegetables
Step up the fruit and vegetables to at LEAST 5 portions a day if possible. If you have fruit and veg dodgers on your hands then do your best to get these into homemade smoothies, soups, waffles, bolognaise, tomato sauces etc. If they are a very picky eater then stock up on a good quality multivitamin & mineral that contains zinc and selenium as well as vitamin A, C & D.
Ginger & garlic
Add in lots of ginger & garlic – think stir-fries, homemade pesto or a zingy ginger apple and carrot juice.
Make your own chicken stock/broth & turn this into warming nourishing soups. Known as Jewish Penicillin, chicken soup is fabulous for sniffles and coughs and is mildly anti-inflammatory!
Ensure they have enough Vitamin D. This is the time of year when we have the lowest reserves, so we can all benefit from a bit more than the RDI during January.
3-4 weeks of taking a little over the RDA of Vitamin D is OK and maybe be more therapeutic. These dosage suggestions are well below the upper tolerable limit of Vitamin D: aim for 400iu for babies and consider stepping up to 1000iu per day for nursery age, 2,000iu for school-age and 3,000iu for secondary school kids. Adults can take 4,000iu.
Choose elderberry if your kids are run down & pick up bugs easily. New research published in 2020 included elderberry in its seven recommendations “to rescue the patients and reduce the mortality from Covid-19 infection” with the recommendation that taking elderberry is most helpful in the early stages of contracting the virus.
I hope that these tips are helpful – good luck to you all and wishing your children a happy and healthy return to school!