My two-year-old son started attending day care during about 6 months ago. This is an exciting step in our lives however, after his first few weeks he started to get sick and run-down all the time. I understand this is a part of life however, I feel like he is never really well anymore and my husband and I end up sick all the time as a result of him bringing these germs home. I was just wondering is he too young to start taking multi vitamins? Is there a natural supplement that could help to boost his immunity?
Unfortunately this is quite a common issue. Firstly your son’s immune system is still developing and he hasn’t yet built up the immunity an older child or adult would have. Also he is coming onto contact with a lot of other kids who are also experiencing ‘immune challenges’ in a confined environment where they’re all playing and close together, putting things in their mouths, sneezing over each other etc… so these things are easily spread. It’s not surprising you and your husband are coming down with viruses too, think of it as an opportunity for you all to strengthen your immune systems!
At 2, an age appropriate multi and a fish oil would be the 2 core staple supplements for him to take every day and will give him the ingredients he needs to build up his natural immunity. With regards to fish oils, I would choose a liquid Cod Liver Oil supplement as it naturally contains vitamins A and D which both support the immune system as well as containing high levels of the omega-3 DHA for brain development which is still happening at a great rate at age 2, the DHA will also support his learning. A good quality Cod Liver Oil that is very fresh will not taste fishy, this is important for compliance!
In addition to the 2 core products, you could use a liquid herbal formulation designed specifically for kids (check it’s alcohol free too) to support his immune system when he is experiencing a ‘challenge’ there are many options available – some that help with symptoms of a cold (runny nose, sore throat, ear ache etc) whilst also containing anti-viral agents, or others that work to very quickly boost the immune system at the onset of a virus. If you want something to give him as a preventative for short periods of time (eg over the coldest months of winter) you could look at Echinacea. Due to his age however, I don’t agree with doing this for months on end as it’s best to let his immune system develop and all those colds and viruses he’s getting are actually an important part of his immune system development, it’s just a fine balancing act keeping it in check so he’s not constantly sick and run down as you’ve mentioned.
For you and your husband it is also important you take at least a multi every day and extra zinc and Vitamin C when you do come down with a virus. You could also take Cod Liver Oil as your omega-3 option for the extra immune support it provides. Lastly you could consider taking something daily as a preventative seeing as your son is bringing home all these germs!
Naturopaths worry if people never get a cold or flu as it means their immune systems are not working properly… so next time you get one, be thankful your immune system has the strength and ability to create a response to a virus, it’s also a wonderful detox! Hope that makes you feel better 🙂
*Please note that the information provided above is only to educate, not to diagnose or treat any medical condition. Please seek advice from your own healthcare provider before embarking on any treatment/health program.
By Michele Wilton
ND, Dip Med Herb
Michele is a Naturopath, Medical Herbalist and works as a Technical Advisor for NaturalMeds.