Back to School Health Boost
By Dr. Tim Fargo, Chiropractor
I am sure you can all remember what it was like to go back to school at the end of a fun and relaxing summer. I, for one, was filled with vague dread about having to sit chained to a desk with thoughts of my vanished freedom. I am being a bit dramatic. Drama aside, the plain fact is that going back to school is often stressful for children, and never more so than now in the era of COVID. Most schools are going to be offering some blend of virtual and face-to-face learning. I think it is safe to say that your children are quite likely going to be returning to the classroom on some basis, and to their sports and extracurricular activities. While the social interactions will be an excellent tonic for the deprivations of the past year, they do increase the risk of infection, not just with COVID, but also such things as influenza and the common cold. That being the case, it is important to do everything we can to boost and maintain the immune function of our children.
Without getting into a debate about the efficacy and safety of COVID vaccines, the plain fact is that a lot of kids are still not eligible for the vaccines and therefore many will be going back to school without that protection on board. There is also the fact that many parents are still not comfortable vaccinating their own children, even if they had had the vaccine themselves. Against this backdrop I think it is important to list some of the things that you, as a parent, can do to fortify your children.
1) Make sure your kids are getting a good night’s sleep and turning off their screens so that they can take advantage of the most restorative part of the sleep cycle. REM sleep is the most restorative, particularly for the brain, and people tend to have this type of brain activity early in the sleep cycle. If you or your child goes to bed too late, they miss out on the most restorative part of the sleep cycle.
2) Fortify your kids diet with nutritional supplementation. Vitamin D3, a multiple vitamin, magnesium, and some extra vitamin C will go a long way toward boosting immunity. There has been some suggestion that, particularly in northern climates, the decrease in sun exposure and consequent decline of vitamin D production, is responsible for waning immune competency during the winter months.
3) Speaking of vitamin D, make sure your kids are getting outside and playing in the sunshine and fresh air every day, even if it is cold. Be like the Norwegians who say, “There is no such thing as bad weather; there is only bad clothing”.
4) If your kids are not getting some form of regular exercise, then that would be an excellent thing to incorporate. Regular exercise builds strong bodies and can boost immune function.
5) Cut out the junk food and food items that have no true redeeming nutritional value, but only satisfy cravings for taste sensations. Pop, sugary snacks, and highly processed foods do nothing to boost immunity.
6) I would be remiss if I did not recommend that you get your child in for a checkup and, if needed, a chiropractic adjustment. While chiropractic care is not a panacea, it nonetheless can provide a critical measure of reduced stress on the body, and particularly the nervous system, and, as such, can be very helpful in maintaining potent immunity and great health. If you have questions about whether your child might be a candidate for chiropractic care, feel free to chat with one of our doctors.
It is tempting to consider as parents, that there is little that we can do in the face of the grinding wheels of school policy and the pandemic. However, there is much that you can do to fortify your child. What is true is that healthier people get sick less often and less severely. If the pandemic taught us nothing, it at least taught us that. Please let us know how we can be of help to you.
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