Expert Advice

How can I boost my child's immune system?

It's easier than you think to keep kids healthy.

How can I boost my child's immune system?
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“A FULLY FUNCTIONING IMMUNE SYSTEM is what keeps your children healthy,” says Alan Greene, M.D., author of Raising Baby Green, who recommends these all-natural strategies:

1 SKIP THE ANTIBACTERIAL SOAP. Kids who use it get sick more often, according to a review study in Antibiotics—Past, Present, and Future from the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine.

2 SUPPORT SLEEP. Late bedtimes leave children vulnerable to infection. Studies suggest toddlers and preschoolers need about 12 hours per day with one nap; school-age children need ten hours; and preteens and teens nine.

3 TRY PROBIOTICS. Studies say that beneficial bacteria in active culture yogurt or kefir can help prevent stomachaches, diarrhea, food allergies, eczema, and respiratory problems.

4 THINK ZINC. Make sure your child’s diet includes 5 to 8 mg of zinc (from yogurt, peas, beef, or shrimp) to prevent infection, diarrhea, and pneumonia, says a study from the Journal of Pediatrics.