Are Children’s Immune Systems Stronger than Adults?

Research shows that young people do NOT have immune systems as efficient as adults. Children may be prone to contact a viral infection, and take more time to recover from it. This is true for a number of reasons. Kids are constantly growing and they eat more food, drink more water, and breathe more air than adults do.

Environmental Toxins

Children’s central nervous, reproductive, digestive, and immune systems are still in development. During this vulnerable stage, certain environmental toxics can cause permanent damage. Small children crawl on the ground and on floors. They put things in their mouths and share toys indiscriminately with other children and pets. Pesticides, other chemicals, dust and waste can contaminate the soil in your yard and be tracked into your home. They are more susceptible to airborne pollution and second hand smoke. Chemicals and hormones in the food that children eat, especially “kid” friendly meals like hot dogs and mac and cheese can also have an impact.

Immune Systems

The immune system consists of a team of cells, proteins, tissues and organs that fight off illness, germs and other invaders. When an unsafe substance enters the body, the immune system kicks into gear and attacks. Children do not have fully developed immune systems until they are about 7-8 years old. Because the immune system helps the body fight against diseases and infections, children have an increased risk of developing conditions, such as whooping cough, diarrhea, ear infections, chickenpox, croup, and food allergies, compared to adults.

Developing a Strong Immune System

Babies benefit from exposure to their mother’s immune system through breast milk. Research suggests that babies who are breastfed are less likely to develop infections (especially lung infections, ear infections, and diarrhea) during their first year of life compared to babies who are fed formulas. This is because the mother’s breast milk contains important antibodies, enzymes, fats, and proteins that help boost the baby’s immune system.

Toddlers and Kindergartners<
As your child becomes more exposed through contact with other, the chance of getting colds and viruses increase. Some studies conclude that this helps build your child’s immune system. However, no one wants to see their children suffer. Practicing and teaching good hygiene at home along with other immune boosting practices may lessen the severity and the amount of time your child is sick. When your child reaches the age of 7 or 8, most of his immune system development is complete.

A Holistic Approach to Boosting Immunity
In our practice at Active Health, we believe in a whole body (holistic) approach to health and well being. To that end, we believe that patient education is the key to our patients create a healthy environment for themselves and their families. We’ve listed some of the most important things you should know when you want to boost your children’s immunity:

Breast feeding Good nutrition: a diet rich in fruits and vegetables with a healthy balance of protein and fats is recommended to maintain a strong body and immune system.
Vitamins and Minerals can be another key factor in maintaining your immune system. Vitamins that support the immune system such as vitamins A, C, E and essential fatty acids should be considered in your child’s dietary recommendations. Additionally, adequate dietary intake of minerals such as manganese, selenium, zinc, copper, iron, sulfur, magnesium and germanium should not be overlooked as part of a healthy nutrition plan.
Chiropractic Care: There is limited scientific research supporting the link between chiropractic care and the immune system.  Chiropractic physicians have utilized chiropractic mobilizations as a tool to help boost the immune system since the inception of the profession.
Acupuncture: This ancient healing system has been used for centuries to help strengthen the body and boost the immune system.  Recent studies have demonstrated that Acupuncture may play a role in reducing inflammation.
The practitioners at Active Health in Park Ridge, IL believe that prevention is one of your most important weapons to staying healthy. We ask our clients to take an active role in our integrative approach to wellness. Our office offers chiropractic care,  acupuncture, and weight loss counseling for your whole family. Call us at 847-739-3120 for an appointment today.