Boosting Your Baby’s Immunity

There’s no question that with our current pandemic, immunity is back in the news. There’s lots of talk about natural immunity as opposed to the immunity we get from vaccination. And certainly, among the many “eat this/don’t eat that” ads you see on home web pages, you’re bound to spot a few that tout said food’s effect on the immune system. With all this talk, you might get the feeling that having good immunity is important—and not just on reality TV shows! But are there right and wrong things to do in getting your little one’s immune system up and The post Boosting Your Baby’s Immunity appeared first on The Pulse.

Boosting Your Baby’s Immunity

There’s no question that with our current pandemic, immunity is back in the news. There’s lots of talk about natural immunity as opposed to the immunity we get from vaccination. And certainly, among the many “eat this/don’t eat that” ads you see on home web pages, you’re bound to spot a few that tout said food’s effect on the immune system.

With all this talk, you might get the feeling that having good immunity is important—and not just on reality TV shows! But are there right and wrong things to do in getting your little one’s immune system up and running? The answer is a definite yes, and we’ll go over some behaviors that are helpful in that regard. But first, a few words on the body’s immune system.

Immunity: A Few Basics

We use our body’s immune system to fight infection. Fighting infection is important for keeping us from getting sick, but good immunity has other benefits as well. Babies and young children need good immunity for good growth, and for all of us, it contributes to a feeling of well-being that goes beyond just avoiding illness. It’s definitely one of the body systems that has a big role in keeping us running.

The immune system has so many components that you could compose a song to pay homage to them all—something I actually tried to do for a medical student show many years ago. In fact, you’d probably need an opera now, since we are discovering more about the components every day. Many people have heard of some of the major players: B-cells produce proteins called antibodies that can destroy harmful cells or neutralize the toxic chemicals they produce. T-cells have a role in remembering harmful germs and in killing the cells themselves. Many other types of cells and proteins have their role as well, and it’s important that they’re maintained in tip-top shape.

What, you might wonder, are some things that might make a person have less-than-optimal immunity? Here are a few:

  • Young infants, even young children, have lower immunity. The immune system develops over time, largely because we have to encounter things in the environment to get it to develop. (Elderly individuals, on the other hand, tend to lose immunity as part of the aging process.)
  • Certain chemicals—including some medications—can depress one’s immune system.
  • Genetic conditions. This term refers to inherited diseases that babies can be born with. While rare, they can have a devastating effect on immunity. A doctor might look for evidence of impaired immunity in a baby or young child who developed an unusual pattern of infections. (We’re not talking about those constant colds here! That’s usually normal. Physicians would be looking at more severe infections or, sometimes, impaired growth.)
  • Certain germs—the HIV virus, for example—can temporarily or permanently destroy components of the immune system.
  • Children need protein to provide the materials to construct a healthy immune system; while those of us in developed countries usually get more than enough of it, this can be a problem in developing countries.

Boosting Immunity

OK, we’ve talked about a few basic regarding our immune systems and discussed a few things that might depress it. How can we improve it? Let’s look at a few suggestions, starting with two that you knew I was going to say:

  • Immunizations are designed to work with our own immune systems to recognize harmful germs and attack and kill or neutralize them should they invade our bodies.
  • Although babies aren’t born with well-developed immune systems, they can benefit from infection-fighting antibodies present in mother’s milk. Breast milk also contains other immune-boosting proteins and even some infection-fighting cells.
  • Maintain good nutrition. Again, breastfeeding is optimal here for young infants. “Eat this/don’t eat that” ads notwithstanding (and mercifully, not too many of these homepage extravaganzas are aimed at kid nutrition), older children can benefit from a varied diet; if your kids are eating several servings of a protein source (meat or meat substitute), fruits and vegetables, dairy, and bread/cereal products with at least some whole-grain options, chances are they’re getting enough of everything for a good immune system. And although all nutrients have their role in maintaining good immunity, vitamins C and D and zinc are said by many to be particularly important.
  • Reduce stress. Yes, kids and even infants get stressed and need our presence for them to feel less so. If your child is feeling particularly stressed during these uncertain times, give them opportunities to talk about it—or even draw or act out their feelings.
  • All sorts of immune-boosting chemicals begin to circulate after being physically active, and doing so will have other benefits for your child’s health.

Finally, there are a couple of other things that are being looked at for their role in immunity, though it’s up for some discussion exactly what that role is:

  • This term refers to added “good” bacteria to supplement those already in the gut. Many times they can be depleted during certain illnesses, particularly if antibiotics are used. While this is another compelling reason to avoid unnecessary antibiotics (say, for colds, or because you all are traveling and your child “might get sick”), it’s also a good topic for discussion with your provider.
  • “Clean vs. dirty.” While it can’t be denied that good handwashing is one of the best things we can do to combat the spread of infection, from an immune standpoint, there’s some thinking that we are becoming too The thought is that we need small doses of the environment to develop a healthy immune system. (Thinking varies as to whether this helps to fight infection or to stave off allergies.) This is yet another topic for discussion. Meanwhile, if you have a relatively hazard-free backyard and it’s warm enough, there’s likely no harm in having your little one go barefoot in the grass or even the mud! Some individuals who do so swear they rarely get sick, and let’s face it, they’ll be getting some exercise to boot!

The immune system is an area of active research and in recent years has spawned many treatments for a variety of diseases, including COVID-19. Fortunately, the bodies of the great majority of us contain lots of natural immunity and the capacity to develop even more if we pay attention to what works. Following the suggestions above will give the littlest immune systems in your life their best shot at developing well.

The post Boosting Your Baby’s Immunity appeared first on The Pulse.

Source : Pregistry More   

What's Your Reaction?

like
0
dislike
0
love
0
funny
0
angry
0
sad
0
wow
0

Next Article

Don’t Go to a Chiropractor to Treat Your Infertility

Chiropractors are notorious for taking all opportunities to expand one of their mainstay treatments, spinal manipulation, to an increasing number of supposed health applications. Their alternative health field, known as “chiropractic”, has been doing this, not through scientific investigation, but rather through aggressive marketing campaigns. The chances are high that you know somebody who not only visits a chiropractor but swears that he or she has benefitted from chiropractic treatments. From a scientific standpoint, however, there is no basis for the claim that chiropractic treatment is helpful for much of anything that may ail you. One could write a book The post Don’t Go to a Chiropractor to Treat Your Infertility appeared first on The Pulse.

Don’t Go to a Chiropractor to Treat Your Infertility

Chiropractors are notorious for taking all opportunities to expand one of their mainstay treatments, spinal manipulation, to an increasing number of supposed health applications. Their alternative health field, known as “chiropractic”, has been doing this, not through scientific investigation, but rather through aggressive marketing campaigns. The chances are high that you know somebody who not only visits a chiropractor but swears that he or she has benefitted from chiropractic treatments. From a scientific standpoint, however, there is no basis for the claim that chiropractic treatment is helpful for much of anything that may ail you. One could write a book about how and why the multitude health claims put out by chiropractic marketers are not true, but since we focus on pregnancy issues here on The Pulse, today we’ll look at just one claim in particular that is out there, in the world of alternative health beliefs, namely that chiropractors can treat infertility, or make your fertility better than it is. They absolutely cannot do this for the simple reason that the main factors influencing your fertility are hormones, the endocrine glands that produce those hormones (the pituitary, the ovaries, the testes, the gross and microscopic anatomy of the uterus, various physiological functions, and drugs and nutrition —none of which is influenced significantly by somebody pulling, twisting, and otherwise manipulating your spine. This goes for male infertility as well as female infertility.

Over the past several decades, fertility treatment has advanced dramatically as a result of improved understanding of physiology, biochemistry, cell biology, and endocrinology, and of advances in hormonal pharmacology, and the advent of in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer. Chiropractors do not have clinical training in any of these areas, nor are they educated much, if at all, in the basic medical sciences relevant to fertility, such as biochemistry, physiology, embryology, cell and molecular biology, histology, pathology, or pharmacology. As for why many people go to chiropractors, there is some weak evidence that chiropractic treatment may relieve lower back pain. Possibly the result of the fact that any kind of massage can relieve lower back pain (a partner or a friend giving you a casual massage could relieve your discomfort as well), this is enough to generate positive stories about chiropractic spreading by word of mouth. On top of this, chiropractic makes use of aggressive marketing campaigns, and chiropractors frequently present themselves as authority figures on all things related to the body. They love calling themselves doctors —chiropractic training programs, after all, award a kind of doctoral degree— plus they take X-rays and use a lot of medical and scientific words in the course of their explanation. Often, the rationale that they present using such word salad does not square with modern understanding of basic medical sciences, but the terminology and the authoritarian presentation fools many lay people. This is a hallmark of pseudoscience, but the image of authority and knowledge that chiropractic —a multibillion dollar industry— attaches to itself melts away as one delves into the history and underlying belief system of chiropractic.

One word that you will hear chiropractors say often is “subluxation”. In real medicine, this term refers to a full or partial dislocation of a body part, but chiropractors use it to mean a mispositioning of a vertebra (or of more than one vertebrae) that may or may not be demonstrable with non-chiropractic, objective methods, such as imaging. The concept of chiropractic subluxation and manipulations to “correct” it have their origins in the year 1895. If this year rings a bell for you in terms of the history of health care, you have the right idea, for 1895 is the year in which physicist Wilhelm Roentgen discovered X-rays. Within a few years, Roentgen’s discovery would revolutionize medicine, but in1895 the founder of chiropractic was living in a world in which no technology for imaging inside the body yet existed. Consequently, chiropractic was claiming that its methods could detect something inside the body at a time when it was fairly difficult to determine whether what was claimed to be detectable was real —although, even in 1895, there were some clues that the scientific direction that actual medicine was beginning to take was not an approach that chiropractic was likely to embrace. One major such clue was the founder of chiropractic claimed to have learned his methods from a dead man who had transmitted the information somehow from the grave.

Alright, so chiropractic has ridiculous origin and its benefits are limited and questionable at that, but many people go to chiropractors, so why shouldn’t you? Well, you also need to consider the negative consequences. Many people experience adverse effects from chiropractic treatments. Most such effects are benign, such as soreness or mild tissue, injury, but, more rarely, chiropractic spinal manipulation can produce severe damage, one extreme example being dissection of one of the vertebral arteries —a pair of major arteries running along the neck— which can lead to severe stroke and death. The rate of occurrence of vertebral artery dissection and other severe effects resulting from chiropractic manipulation is a matter of controversy, requiring study, but chiropractic methods can involve rather brutal forces on and within the spine and on related structures through which important nerves run. Severe adverse effects of chiropractic treatment may indeed be rare, but set against weak evidence for any benefit at all, not to mention the tendency for chiropractic to make all sorts of claims that its methods can treat various conditions involving internal organs, it makes little sense to waste your time and money on such a venture.

If you suffer from infertility, discuss it with your gynecologist or your primary care physician and ask for referral to a fertility specialist, meaning an obstetrician gynecologist who has done special training in fertility issues.

The post Don’t Go to a Chiropractor to Treat Your Infertility appeared first on The Pulse.

Source : Pregistry More   

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.