Why Runny Noses Are a Good Thing For Daycare Children
Snotty young faces may have you reaching for the anti-bacterial solution, but there’s a lot to be gained for your child’s immune system when they get sick. The average child1 catches 6-8 colds a year, and while it sounds like a lot, each bout is an essential building block in their immunity.
Children start building immune defences from a very young age, and they continue to develop throughout the first few years of their life. This coincides neatly with the huge milestone of their first days of day care – a new and bacteria-rich environment. In this setting, you can expect plenty more coughs, runny noses and hot foreheads. But rather than see this as a negative, you can embrace it for the immunity builder it is.
Any illness, of course, should still be taken seriously, but there are several steps you can take to ensure it’s a positive experience.
Building a base of good nutrition, getting up-to-date vaccinations, knowing what to look for in symptoms, and understanding how to fast track recovery, are all ways you can ensure your child is benefitting from illness, while also being safe.
A good, nutritional defence is a strong offence
Colds as a child are as inevitable as they are important for building their immune system. But that doesn’t mean you can’t take steps to reduce frequency and intensity.
Here is what you can do:
Provide your child with a healthy balanced diet
Starting at home, give your kids the best chance of fighting off any bugs they might pick up from children in childcare with nutrition. Ensure family meals have plenty of foods rich in vitamins, minerals, and other food components, to give children a solid foundation for their immune defences.
Most vitamins, minerals and other food components are needed for the development and nourishment of the immune system, like zinc, vitamin E, A, C, prebiotic, and probiotic. These can be sourced from a healthy diet of leafy green veggies, vegetable oils, dairy, grains, beans, flaxseeds, and yoghurt. A growing up formula provides additional nutrients to your child when his food intake is not adequate. If you still have concerns, we recommend speaking to a healthcare professional.
Encourage good hygiene as your child's habit
Be a gardener, not a carpenter, in their playtime
Getting everyone in the house to practise good hygiene, like washing hands regularly (especially before eating, drinking, and preparing food), sets a great example for little ones in restricting the spread of cold and flu.
Finally, nutrition and good hygiene aren’t the only ways you can prepare your child for fending off illness. Bacterial infections are also common illnesses contracted by children2 and are best prevented by following the standard vaccination schedule.
200 different viruses and no cold vaccine
Cold and flu are both viruses – and there are around 200 of them. 3 While vaccines can minimize the risk of contracting the flu, a vaccine for the common cold does not exist.
If your child does catch the flu, it’s important to keep them home from day care to prevent them passing it on to other kids. Most of the time, all your child will need is lots of rest and plenty of hydrating fluids.4
A healthy eating regime is especially important when your child is unwell, so stick to nutrient-rich foods that will help them fight off their virus. Soon enough, they’ll be feeling strong – and ready to play with their friends again.
If their appetite is poor, a growing up formula milk maybe an appropriate alternative to be consumed as part of a balanced diet.
1. “Upper Respiratory Infection (URI or Common Cold).” Stanford Children's Health, www.stanfordchildrens.org/en/topic/default?id=upper-respiratory-infection-uri-or-common-cold-90-P02966
2. MSD Manual Consumer Version. (n.d.). Overview of Bacterial Infections in Childhood - Children's Health Issues - MSD Manual Consumer Version. [online] Available at: https://www.msdmanuals.com/home/children-s-health-issues/bacterial-infections-in-infants-and-children/overview-of-bacterial-infections-in-childhood.
3. Healthdirect.gov.au. (n.d.). Colds and flu (influenza). [online] Available at: https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/colds-and-flu.
4. Rch.org.au. (n.d.). Kids Health Info : Influenza (the flu). [online] Available at: https://www.rch.org.au/kidsinfo/fact_sheets/Influenza_the_flu/.