Because there are so many different viruses that cause colds, it is unlikely that medical science will ever develop a vaccine that can protect against all of them. There are, however, measures that you can take to strengthen your child's resistance to illness. Although your child can suffer a cold at any time, colds are most common during early fall, midwinter, and early spring, so these are the times it makes most sense to work actively to boost immunity. Try one or several of the following suggestions:
A child under emotional
distress will fall ill more easily. Emotional upset may be caused by the
birth of a sibling, fear over starting school, grief or anger over parental
separation, moving, or any other stresses. Try to be aware of and talk out
problems, and be supportive of your child during emotional crises.
(See Emotional Upset.)
- American ginseng helps to build the immune system and strengthens the body. Give your child one dose, once or twice weekly, during the winter months.
Note: American ginseng should not be used if fever or any other signs of acute infection are present.
- Give your child one dose of beta-carotene daily during the cold and flu season.
- Echinacea and goldenseal stimulate the immune system and help keep the body clear of infections. A liquid extract is the preferred form. Give your child one dose of an echinacea and goldenseal combination formula, twice weekly, during the cold and flu season.
Note: You should not give your child echinacea on a daily basis for more than ten days at a time or it may lose its effectiveness.
- Vitamin C with bioflavonoids is an effective preventive combination. If your child resists eating fruits and vegetables, supplement her diet with 150 milligrams of each daily during the cold season.
- Give your child one dose of Anas barbariae, once a week, during the cold and flu season.
- Make it a rule to give your child a low-sweet diet and no fried foods. During the cold season, prepare soups of chicken and vegetables, and add the herb astragalus in dried or tincture form to the soup to help boost her immune system.
Physical stress can create a bodily imbalance that makes a child more vulnerable to illness. Exposure to dust and chemicals, too much sugar and fat in the diet, even the kind of sudden and extreme temperature change that occurs when you leave a sunny beach and enter an air-conditioned room, all can potentially make your child more susceptible to illness.
Practice good hygiene, especially careful and frequent hand-washing, and teach your child to do the same. This is especially important if one member of the household already has a cold. Many viruses are spread via the hands.