Boost your little one’s immune system this winter

Boost your little one's immune system this winter - easy, everyday ways to boost your little one's immune system over the chillier months

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Remember that ‘clean’ can be too clean
To help your baby develop a strong immune system, he needs to be exposed to germs, so his body can start building up its defences. If you sterilise your home from top to bottom, what will happen when your little one goes to nursery or to the park? Dealing with germs from pets and outdoor play will trigger his own body’s defences. Just make sure he – and you as a family – gets into good hygiene habits, like washing hands after using the toilet, after touching animals, before preparing food and before eating. These are habits he’s never too young to learn.

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Catch those ZZZs
Sleep – and getting enough of it – is essential for good physical health and emotional wellbeing. When we sleep, we produce melatonin, which has a powerful antioxidant effect that helps the body fight disease – yet another good reason for getting a good sleep routine in place. Click on the Toddler & Preschool channel for simple, effective ideas that work.

Kick the habit
Smoker and just can’t give up? Bear in mind that second-hand smoke has a hugely negative impact on your child’s health. Whether you smoke two or 20 cigarettes a day, the harmful chemicals cigarettes contain are very damaging to your child’s developing immune system.

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Check his diet
Fresh fruit and vegetables are full of bug-beating vitamins and minerals, but getting your child to eat them can be a struggle. Be smart – purées, mashed parsnip, carrot and sweet potatoes, or apple fingers and banana chunks are often met with less resistance than a plate of broccoli. It’s also important to set a good example by eating the right foods yourself! Oily fish, eggs and dairy all contain vitamin A, which supports the immune system, while milk-based meals such as porridge, rice pudding and custard are great for boosting calcium.

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