I was talking with a group of parents recently and we got on the subject of health and immune systems–I had forgotten how I used to fuss over such things when my kids were younger but now have grown very used to their different health styles and immunity levels. It certainly seems like some kids have a perpetual runny nose while others may seldom get sick at all. Instead of worrying, I think there are things that parents can do to understand and help kids develop stronger immune systems…
It is fairly common knowledge now that breast-fed babies have a tendency to develop stronger immune systems from the get-go since they get all those antibodies through the breast milk from their mothers. But there are other things that influence a child’s health immune system: children who get plenty of rest and develop healthy sleeping habits, children who are living in a less stressful environment, plenty of fresh air and exercise, and I also think that exposure to “normal” environments helps to build a strong immune system. By this, I mean that if a child is sequestered and lives in a sterile, super-clean environment–never getting the chance to interact with other children and people and get around typical daily-living germs, he or she won’t build up natural immunities to such things. Of course, this my personal theory and I’m not a doctor. Surely there are those children whose health is compromised and they need to be protected from such environments too.
There are those parents who worry if their children are seldom sick–we’ve all heard the folktales that children “need” to be sick when they are young or they won’t build up their immune systems for when they are older. BUT, some children just have stronger immune systems from birth and instead of worrying that it will all “catch up” with them someday, I think a parent can celebrate the healthy constitution of their child. Sure, they may get some of the typical illnesses, but chances are, that strong immune system will be a gift they carry with them through life.
See Also the HEALTH Blog