COVID-19 Third Wave Alert: The Best 11 Ways To Boost Your Child’s Immunity
The most vulnerable group now would be those who are not immunized or have low immunity, and the majority of this group is children.
Ahead of the third wave of COVID-19, the vaccination program in the country is in full swing and going smoothly. In August 2021 alone, more than 180 million dosages were administered, and some states were able to vaccinate 100 percent of their eligible adult population. By the end of 2021, the government hopes to vaccinate all eligible Indians.
However, due to a lack of credible research and strict regulatory control, the children still remain unvaccinated and thus, at risk. In a country with the largest adolescent population in the world, 253 million as per Unicef, it is estimated that 60% of children have been exposed to coronavirus since the start of the pandemic, and with the third wave looming large and with schools reopening, there isn't much that kids can do to protect themselves beyond following Covid guidelines already set and enforced by the government.
As of now, most people have at least received one dose of the multiple vaccine variants currently approved and administered across the country, and the majority of fully vaccinated adults have begun to produce antibodies. Government scientific advisers have said vaccination for children aged 12 to 17 years with severe health conditions could start in October 2021. However, a broader vaccination rollout will only take place after completion of the adult vaccination program, currently slated for the end of this year.
Therefore, the most vulnerable group now would be those who are not immunized or have low immunity, and the majority of this group is children. One of the gravest threats to children related to the pandemic is the fact that with the reopening of schools, we will most likely witness a significant rise in COVID-19 cases among children and teenagers. Hence, it is more crucial than ever to build immunity in children and focus on boosting it to strengthen their natural defenses to keep them protected from the coronavirus.
Also since the timelines for vaccination of children have not been confirmed yet, it’s imperative to strengthen their immunity naturally till then through a variety of ways listed below:
Encourage a well-balanced diet
A well-balanced diet consisting of fruits, vegetables, legumes, pulses, and wholegrain is a must to enhance a child's immunity. Vitamin C can be found in oranges and citrus fruits, which increases immunity and functions as a barrier against infections. Iron-rich green leafy vegetables like spinach help the body produce white blood cells and antibodies that further reinforce the immune system and help fight against infections. Eggs are considered a great source of protein and can be added to the child’s daily diet.
Let them have fun outdoors more often
Children have been confined to their homes for too long now as a result of the pandemic, which has really taken a toll on their physical well-being. Physical activity and exercise are also essential for a child's overall fitness and also play a crucial role in strengthening immunity. Children should play outside whenever possible for fresh air and vitamin D. Even a few hours of physical activity, such as playing a sport or running around in the park, can benefit your child's health.
Don’t let them compromise on their sleep
Hence, as a parent, you should ensure that your child follows a healthy routine that includes adequate sleep and physical activity. For proper development, a child requires at least 8 to 10 hours of sleep. It is critical for their mental and physical health as it allows the mind to relax and rejuvenate.
Keep the connection active. Digitally!
Physical distance from friends is not only stressful for adults but children as well. In these challenging times, the best way to make your child feel connected to the world is by encouraging them to talk to their friends and loved ones via video calls. You can also arrange virtual events for your child and his/her friends to participate in. It is a known fact that a happy child is bound to possess a robust immune system.
Shower them with positivity, affection, and encouragement
There is no place like home, and the environment at home determines a child's mental development. Hence, as a parent, you should make sure that the environment at home is dynamic, pleasant, and positive for your child. In addition, showing an ample amount of love and appreciation coupled with praising them for their small achievements goes a long way in bringing peace to a child's mind. Remember, a child’s positive mental health has a great impact on his or her immunity.
Teach them breathing techniques
Encourage your child to practice breathing techniques, meditation, and yoga asanas. They are excellent ways to expand lung capacity, oxygenate body cells, and boost the body's natural immunity against infections.
Stick to the immunization schedule
Ensure that your child's immunization schedule is adhered to and the required doses are administered on time, as recommended by the paediatrician. This is critical for all children, especially for those who have asthma or other chronic illnesses. Children with complete vaccination regimens boast of robust immune systems that help them fight off infections and diseases.
Limit your child’s screen time
Whether it's for online schooling or working from home, screens have become an integral part of our lives, especially during this pandemic. Unfortunately, it has also given rise to a variety of health concerns, both physical and psychological. As a result, limiting screen time can help improve children's physical health, reduce obesity, and give them more time to play and explore, thus keeping them active and boosting their immunity.
Consider getting a pet
Spending time with animals reduces stress hormones and enhances the release of oxytocin, which promotes feelings of peace and contentment. Likewise, a warm fluffy hug from a dog or the purring murmur of cats can be a tremendous stress buster. Hence, it is ideal for a family to adopt a pet to ensure their children learn the importance of love, care, and responsibility from a young age and have a buddy for life.
From the pandemic’s perspective, a pet will keep children occupied, thus keeping them physically active and significantly reducing their reliance on electronic devices.
Encourage them to maintain good hygiene
Coronavirus spreads through poor hygiene and contact with other individuals or items, as well as through oral and nasal secretions. Viruses are also more easily transmitted amongst children due to their habit of touching their mouths and noses every now and then.
As a result, you should pay special attention to your child’s hygiene before and after each meal, after handling pets, after sneezing, after using the bathroom, and after arriving home from school.
Ensure that they wash their hands with soap for at least 15 to 30 seconds and take a bath every day after any outdoor activity. Additionally, as parents, you should serve as a role model by wearing masks in a crowded and closed environment and even at home when visitors arrive, making hand sanitization a household practice, and avoiding physical contact with strangers, such as handshakes, hugs, etc.
Don't be over-protective
Colds, coughs, bruises, and cuts are unavoidable components of growing up. Being protective of your child is one thing but creating a bubble around him/her is ill-advised. Sure you love your kids, but don’t let your care and concern for them go overboard.
Don't over-medicate your children with antibiotics for every minor ailment. Antibiotics as the first line of defence, despite their speed, may not always be the best option.
Antibiotics wipe out both beneficial and harmful microorganisms, affecting the body's immune system. Follow your pediatrician’s recommendations and don't force them to prescribe antibiotics for every disease.
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