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Heather Hanks
Written by Heather Hanks

Reviewed by Physician Zhang Ruifen and Dr Angelica L Dumapit on January 11, 2023

5 Signs You Have Healthy Kids

Healthy kids tend to be energetic and recover from illnesses within a reasonable amount of time. Here are some other things your kids do that indicate they have a strong immune system.

Healthy kid and dad min scaled

Having healthy kids is something every parent wishes for. Nothing is more heartbreaking than watching your child struggle to overcome sickness.

While you can’t possibly protect your child from every illness, supporting their immune health means they’ll recover quicker and suffer less severe symptoms.

Here are 5 ways to tell if you have healthy kids with a strong immune system and tips for continuing to keep them that way!

How To Tell If You Have Healthy Kids

Healthy children running together at a playground
Children with robust immune systems are generally energetic, happy, and quick to recover from illnesses.

Healthy kids with a strong immune system will usually display these signs: 

1. They don’t get sick often.

Viral or bacterial infections such as colds, bronchiolitis, tonsillitis, ear infections, the flu, mumps, and chickenpox are spread easily in places like classrooms.

Children with a healthy immune system would be more well-protected from diseases or infections. 

2. Their wounds heal fast.

Most children enjoy being physically active and they tend to fall, getting cuts and scrapes. The immune system is responsible for tissue repair and regeneration, which is why a strong one can help heal wounds quicker.

3. They have healthy and regular bowel movements.

The digestive tract houses almost 70% of the immune system. As a result, if your kids have a strong immune system, they’ll also have normal bowel movements and healthy stool that is smooth and soft but not watery or with hard lumps. 

4. They have lots of energy.  

Children naturally have a lot more energy than adults. While it can be quite tiring for parents, high energy is also a good thing. A disorder in the immune system would impact the central nervous system, causing constant fatigue.

So, having your children running around and playing with each other is actually a sign that their immune systems are working well. 

5. They are happy.

Another sign of a strong immune system in your child is that they’re mostly in good spirits. Stress can creep up on anyone and peer pressure and school demands can take a toll on a child’s mental health.

High-stress levels can present as a cause and symptom of a weak immune system. Excessive stress can affect the endocrine system, leading to lowered immunity and several other conditions. When children are happy, their bodies will excrete ‘happy hormones,’ keeping their immune systems strong. 

How To Maintain Healthy Kids

Your child needs to stay strong, especially since they continuously face threats of new viruses and diseases.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the body’s immunity depends on “healthy energy” or zheng qi. This flows throughout the body, defending it against external pathogens, and is closely linked to the body’s organ functions. 

TCM Physician Zhang Ruifen explains, “Each organ has its own qi (energy) and it contributes to overall qi in the body.” Well-functioning organ systems contribute to strong zheng qi, which makes one less likely to fall ill.

Here are some habits that can help maintain strong immunity: 

Feed your kids a healthy diet

A cute young boy with a backpack on holding a banana and eating an apple at school during lunch
Feeding your kids a healthy diet high in fruits and vegetables can support their immune health.

Take care of your children’s digestive system by ensuring that they eat well. Prevent them from consuming anything excessively cold, sweet, or spicy and limit their intake of fried foods. You can also add probiotics and prebiotics to your children’s diet to help support their immune system. 

Give them immune-boosting supplements

If needed, give your children supplements to boost their immune system. Some supplements made from herbs and other natural ingredients are arguably safer and healthier.

TCM believes that a child’s Lung and Spleen systems are still weak, which can temper their overall immunity. Deficient Lungs and Spleen can trigger respiratory illnesses like colds and digestive conditions like an upset stomach.

Therefore, TCM remedies for children’s immune systems focus on tonifying the Lungs and Spleen. 

TCM recommends herbs such as poria mushroom (Fu Ling), white atractylodes (Bai Zhu), euryale seed (Qian Shi), coix barley (Yi Yi Ren), astragalus root (Huang Qi) and Chinese yam (Huai Shan).

Chinese Yam can be consumed daily due to its mild and neutral properties. Alternatively, you can make a soup with astragalus root, white atractylodes, licorice root (Gan Cao) and pork ribs.

Bird’s nest is another good supplement to take to boost immune health. It has anti-viral properties that have been shown to fight respiratory illnesses.

Prior to using these herbs on your child, consult a TCM physician to ensure their suitability and effectiveness. 

Ensure they get enough sleep

Our immune memory is formed while we’re asleep and children who have enough sleep will develop a stronger immune system.

In TCM, the sleep-and-awake cycle is regulated by the continuous circulation of wei qi (protective qi). While asleep, wei qi circulates the body, going through the meridians to nourish the body’s organs.

According to the National Sleep Foundation the number of hours of sleep children should be getting, is according to their age:

  • Infants (four to 11 months old): 12 to 15 hours of sleep
  • Toddlers (one to two years old): 11 to 14 hours of sleep
  • Preschool children (three to five years old) 10 to 13 hours of sleep
  • School-age kids (six to 13 years old): nine to 11 hours of sleep

Expose them a little bit to build their immune systems

TCM is of the opinion that parents shouldn’t cover their children too much during moderate exposure to cold weather. It states that children ages three to seven should start building their resistance against external pathogens to train their immune systems.

Make sure they spend some time in the sun

UV rays may be harmful to the skin, but low exposure to sunlight has been proven to increase immunity.

In 2016, researchers from Georgetown University Medical Center found that low levels of blue light in sun rays can stimulate T-cells, which play a big role in the human immune system.

Similarly, TCM also believes that some sun exposure can boost yang qi, which is vital in children’s development. Let your children spend 30 minutes outdoors, preferably in the early morning when it’s less sunny.

Do You Have Healthy Kids?

Do you spot signs of a strong immune system in your child? If your answer is yes, that’s great! Keep doing what you’re doing. If you think your child requires help in boosting their immunity, try the tips in this article and they’ll soon be on a path to better health. 

This is an adaptation of an article called “Boost Your Child’s Immunity With TCM,” which first appeared on the Eu Yan Sang website.

References

  1. National Center for Biotechnology Information. 2018. Immune Regulation of Tissue Repair and Regeneration via miRNAs—New Therapeutic Target.  
  2. Sleep Foundation. 2020. How Much Sleep Do Babies and Kids Need?  
  3. Georgetown University Medical Center. 2016. Sunlight Offers Surprise Benefit – It Energizes Infection Fighting T Cells.  
  4. Physiological Reviews. 2019. The Sleep-Immune Crosstalk in Health and Disease.
  5. Nationwide Children’s. 2017. Toxic Stress: How the Body’s Response Can Harm a Child’s Development.

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