Your toddler's immune system is immature mostly because it likely hasn't been exposed to as many germs and illnesses as an adult, which means his immune system has not had the chance to become stronger over time. It can seem as though your toddler comes down with every case of the sniffles circulating your group of friends. To help your child better fight illness, ensure that he gets the proper nutrition and vaccines he needs for better health and a strong immune system.
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Fruits and Vegetables
Proper nutrition is paramount in the fight against illnesses, but it can be difficult to ensure that your toddler eats a well-rounded, healthful diet. Vitamins C and E are especially vital in creating white blood cells and antibodies that actively fight against illness. Since toddlers can sometimes be picky eaters, offering fruits and vegetables such as oranges, grapefruit, apples, spinach, kale and legumes in smoothie form, or allowing your toddler to choose her favorites, can help ensure adequate vitamin intake for better immunity. If not, talk to your doctor about using a multivitamin for your toddler to supplement her diet.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Fruits and vegetables are not the only diet-related way to ensure that your toddler has the best chances fighting sickness. Omega-3 fatty acids, such as those found in fish, nuts and avocados, help to increase phagocyte, or white blood cell, activity for a stronger immune system. When your toddler refuses to eat a mercury-free fish such as lake trout, try sprinkling flax seed over his cereal for a virtually taste-free way to reap the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids.
While a strong immune system is often linked to diet, your toddler's daily habits can have an effect on how efficiently her body fights disease and infection. Without the proper daily amount of rest, your toddler's body becomes more susceptible to sickness. Kathi Kemper, M.D., director of the Center for Holistic Pediatric Education and Research at Children's Hospital, in Boston tells "Parents" magazine that daycare children are more susceptible to missing sleep, since being amidst other children can make it difficult to catch z's. A toddler should get between 12 and 13 hours of sleep per day, so arrange her schedule around getting optimum sleep.
Vaccinating your children can be a hot topic among parents. While some swear by following the immunization schedule set forth by their doctors, others eschew vaccinations for children completely. Whether you agree or disagree with immunizations, they do help to boost your toddler's immune system. Vaccinations work by placing a dormant version of a disease or illness into the body to essentially stimulates the immune system to work against the disease. Vaccinations for diseases such as measles, mumps, rubella and whooping cough strengthen the immune system against the sometimes deadly illnesses so your toddler's body can recognize and fight disease.