Like adults, kids need adequate amounts of vitamins to keep their bodies healthy and their immune systems strong. Eating a balanced diet that includes large amounts of nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables is a good place to start, and you can also talk to your child’s doctor about giving her supplements. If you are concerned about your child’s health or her cold symptoms, make an appointment with your pediatrician.
Children are considered a high-risk group for contracting colds if they are school-age or in day care, where they are more likely to be exposed to germs. Taken regularly, vitamin C can help ward off the common cold and keep your child’s immune system strong. Additionally, having him take it as soon as he starts to show the symptoms of a cold may help lessen the severity and length of the illness. Children under 6 should take 250 mg per day. Those older than 6 can take 500 mg per day. Talk to your doctor to determine the right dosage for your child.
Vitamin E is an antioxidant, which will protect your child’s cells from environmental and free radical damage. It is also essential for the proper functioning of her immune system. Most people get enough of this vitamin through foods such as vegetable oils, nuts, seeds and leafy green vegetables, but if your child does not eat adequate amounts of these, consider asking your physician about giving her a supplement. Children from 1 to 3 need 9 IU (international units) a day; those from 4 to 8 need 10.5 IU, and those who are 9 to 13 need 16.5 IU.
Your child needs vitamin A to maintain the health of his cells and vision, but it also plays a role in immune system functioning. A deficiency in this vitamin can lead to dry eyes, diarrhea and skin problems, as well as an increased likelihood for developing infections. Children 1 to 3 should get 300 mcg (micrograms) a day, 4- to 8-year-olds need 400 mcg, and 9- to 13-year-olds need 600 mcg. However, as vitamin A can be toxic in large doses, do not give your child a supplement without discussing it with your doctor.
To keep your child healthy, make sure she drinks plenty of water and eats a balanced diet. Teach her to wash her hands frequently, especially before eating. If she develops a cold, have her rest and administer fluids. Consult a doctor if her symptoms do not subside within a week of home treatment.