Children and babies are prone to experience frequent colds and infections. We explore children's immunity and how to strengthen it naturally.

Children’s immunity

Understanding children’s immunity

The body is uniquely able to protect and heal itself from injury and disease, and to maintain a state of internal harmony, due to a series of intricate mechanisms that make up the immune system. The immune system is a kind of surveillance system which checks for ‘foreign entities’ entering the body or if they are out of place in the body, and then activates processes to remove them.

Often signs and symptoms of illness are actually evidence of the body carrying out its self-cleansing process to clear whatever pathogens have caused an imbalance in homeostasis (1).  The role of medicine is really to assist the efforts of the body to heal itself, rather than to suppress the symptoms of clearing mechanisms.

Children and babies are prone to experience frequent colds, coughs, catarrh, and ear infections. The mucous produced in such cases is doing its job to protect, eliminate, and clear pathogens or irritants that have triggered the immune response.  Giving medicines to control symptoms at the first sign of a sniffle or sickness in a child, such as mucous, fever, diarrhoea, or vomiting, can often be more damaging then helpful because it will suppress the body’s natural defences, and potentially send the illness further into the body stimulating a more chronic state.  These symptoms are the body’s immune system working to eliminate infections, and so if the body’s defences are working well, it is usually helpful to allow them to do their job without supressing them. Of course, in some cases, for example if symptoms persist or a fever rises suddenly then medications can be helpful.

Herbs generally work to support the body’s natural defences, rather than to supress symptoms, and to allow the system to work smoothly so that it returns to a state of health and vitality, functioning as it is designed to.  This can be a wonderful source of support to the developing immunity of children, acting to support, nourish and balance the system so that it can function at its best, unaided.

Many herbs are suitable for self-care. However if a health condition does not resolve with home remedies we recommend using the information in Herbal Reality along with your health advisors, especially herbal practitioners from the professional associations listed in our Resources page (‘If you want to find a herbalist”). When buying any herbal products, you should choose responsible manufacturers with independently assured quality standards and sustainability practices. Check the label carefully for the appropriate safety and sustainability information.

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