How to Battle the Back to School Bug

by Dr. Shelese Pratt ND @ The Pratt Clinics

Boulder, Colorado

It’s that time of year again. Fall is the time of year when our kids go back to school and we dread every sign of a sniffle, cough, and sore throat. There are some great ways to keep you and your child healthy through this season.

From a Chinese medicine perspective, lung energy (qi) is more vulnerable this time of year.  So, fall is a good time of year to start eating more cooked foods. It’s time to stop feeding your children salad and switch to bone broth and steamed vegetables. The body needs more warmth as the temperatures start to get colder outside.

Getting more sleep is also very important to keeping our adrenals and immune system healthy. Elementary school children need at least 10-12 hours. Middle school aged children need 9-10 hours of sleep. Teenagers and adults need between 7-9 hours of sleep. Everyone has a sweet spot of just enough sleep to keep them feeling their best. I have a 12-year-old son who is so much better behaved and focused when he gets at least 10 hours of sleep.  Most of our kids have gotten used to staying up late over the summer and we need to dial back their bedtime. Getting enough rest is important to keeping the immune system functioning at it’s best.  If we start getting them to bed early before they go back to school, their adrenals won’t be so stressed when the alarm goes off on the first day of school. That way they aren’t starting the year tired or wired from early mornings.

Sugar wipes out the immune system. I suggest going easy on sweets this time of year. You might choose to avoid ice cream now that summer is over. Remember cold foods this time of year are not a good option. This is because the body is already vulnerable to the temperatures outside getting colder at the same time. Warm apple crisp with a little coconut sugar would be a better dessert choice.

Reducing stress is important to keeping the immune system healthy. By eating warm healthy foods, getting enough sleep, and reducing sugar consumption, you will reduce internal stress. This will keep you and your child healthy and more focused as we start this school year.   Having well rested and well fed children makes every parent’s job easier and less stressful. Mornings can be tough to get anywhere. The beginning of school is probably one of hardest times to get everything together. 

Don’t forget to take your Vitamin D and probiotics this fall. These both help keep your immune system strong all winter and they also help lift your mood as we head into the darkest time of year.

Let’s start the year with success and health! If you or your child suffers every fall from colds and flu, it might be a good time to come in and have a consultation with me. I have many wonderful immune boosting supplements and/or herbs that will keep you well all fall and winter long.

To see the areas I focus on in Pediatrics click here

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