Sitting on the porch enjoying early morning sun, it is hard to imagine that the beginning of the school year is nearly upon us. While we may enjoy Indian summer for several more weeks, the fall rains will soon come. And, with the change in seasons, more crowded indoor time, and the stress of tighter schedules, fall colds will surely follow.
Now, that’s not all bad. We can anticipate the flexing of our immune muscles and the maturation of young children’s repertoire of white blood cells, standing at the ready. Without the occasional cold or flu, our immune systems would be stagnant and unprepared for what winter brings.
If you have a child just entering a school-type setting for the first time, be prepared for lots of those immune system building opportunities. Because they haven’t been exposed to very much yet, their immune systems will respond to each new virus that passes through.
What does a healthy respiratory immune response in a 2-8 year old look like?
- Rapid onset of runny nose with or with out a cough
- Fever of 103-104, lowest in the morning, rising again in the evening, and breaking in the wee hours
- Mild to moderate fatigue and poor appetite
- Lasting 3-5 days, sniffle gone in a week
For older kids and adults the symptoms are similar, but without the high fever. While young kids may experience 3-6 colds in a winter, older kids and adults – who have been exposed to more viruses – should have more like 1-2 infections in 12 months.
Here are a few preparation tips to help strengthen your family’s immune response.
- Establish a good solid routine: early to bed, early to rise and 3-4 regular meals
- Eat a varied diet high in local fresh produce (half your plate for any meal)
- Eat sweets in moderation, avoid highly processed foods
- Drink plenty of plain filtered water, most schools will let kids have water at their desk
- Get outside and exercise, at least 15 minutes every day, more if possible
- Have fun! Joy and laughter strengthen our immune response
- Take supplements to enhance natural immunity, like cod liver oil, probiotics, and vitamin D with vitamin K2
- Add a high quality multivitamin when local produce is no longer available
We hope you all have a healthy, happy transition into fall!