Boosting your child’s immune system

As we go through another school year under the cloud of the COVID-19 pandemic, many parents are asking: What can we do to keep our children healthy? Are there ways to boost the immune system and ward off COVID-19 and other illnesses?

The answer is yes – but there are no magic wands or magic supplements. The best way to keep the immune system healthy is, basically, to take necessary steps to keep healthy. As boring as that sounds, it’s tried and true.

Here’s what you can do to help keep your children healthy.

Give them a healthy diet

By “healthy” I mean a diet with lots of fruits and vegetables (five servings a day are recommended, and they should take up half of every meal plate; Pediatrician Adriane Lioudis, MD recommends encouraging your child to “eat the rainbow” when it comes to fruits and vegetables), whole grains, and lean protein. A healthy diet also has dairy or another source of calcium, and healthy fats, like vegetable oils.

The foods to avoid are processed foods, foods with added sugar, and foods with unhealthy fats, like the saturated fats found in animal products. That doesn’t mean your child can’t ever eat cookies or ice cream. But if you want to your child to be healthy, they shouldn’t eat those foods every day.

There are many supplements that claim to boost your immune system. While the jury is still out as to whether most of them make a real difference, none of them take the place of a healthy diet. If you have a child who refuses vegetables or otherwise has a limited diet, a multivitamin with iron may make sense; talk to your doctor about whether vitamins or supplements are a good idea for your child.

Make sure they get enough sleep

We all need sleep to refresh and recharge our bodies, and that includes children. Not getting enough sleep limits the body’s ability to produce proteins called cytokines that help fight infection and reduce inflammation.

The amount of sleep a child needs varies by and also from child to child (some just need more than others). Sleep requirements for each night vary by age:

  • Babies between 0 and 3 months need 14 to 17 hours of sleep
  • Those between 4 and 12 months need 12 to 16 hours of sleep
  • Children between the ages of 1 and 2 need between 11 and 14 hours
  • Kids between the ages of 3 and 5 should get from 10 to 13 hours
  • Children ages 6 to 12 should get between 9 and 12 hours
  • Teens between the ages of 13 to 18 need 8 to 10 hours.

 You can encourage healthy sleep by limiting screens – for teens, devices really should be shut off an hour or two before bedtime and preferably not be in the bedroom at night – and keeping to a regular schedule.

Get them active

Exercise keeps us healthy and less likely to get sick. Children should really be active for an hour a day. “Active” doesn’t have to mean playing a sport or going to the gym; it could be playing at the playground or going for a walk. More is not necessarily better; if you have a child who is a serious athlete, exercising several hours a day, make sure that the exercise isn’t eating into sleep or causing burnout, both of which could cause problems with the immune system. Speaking of which…

Manage stress

Stress makes us less healthy and more prone to infection. Make sure that kids have downtime to play, and access to activities and people that make them happy (or whatever version of that the pandemic allows). Spend time together as a family, and create opportunities for your children to talk about anything that might be worrying them. The pandemic has made many children depressed or anxious, so if you have concerns about your child’s moods or emotional health, talk to your doctor.

Make sure they are up to date on important vaccines

Immunizations protect us from all sorts of illnesses. Check with your doctor to see if your child is up to date on immunizations. The flu shot is recommended yearly for all people 6 months of age or older, and will be particularly important in the pandemic: not only is the combination of influenza and COVID-19 a bit frightening, but every cold symptom means lost school or work while waiting for test results. And please, vaccinate everyone in your family who is eligible against COVID-19; it is safe and makes a big difference when it comes to preventing severe disease.

Don’t forget the simple precautions

Everyone in the family can take simple precautions to help stay healthy.

  • Wash your hands: Eighty percent of infections are spread by touch. Teach your little one to take the time to wash their hands after sneezing, coughing and going to the bathroom. Washing hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds can remove bacteria and viruses and can reduce the chance of lung infections by up to 45%.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with your elbow
  • Stay away from sick people to the extent that you can
  • Masks can help, too, especially in crowded indoor spaces.

It’s important to encourage good habits and take steps to boost their immune system from an early age. In addition, while it’s a very personal decision and that isn’t always possible, if you are able to exclusively breastfeed your child for at least six months, it may have benefits. Some research shows that breastfeeding your child might possibly boost their immune system.

If your child has a health problem that could make it harder to fight off an infection, talk to your doctor about any extra or different precautions you should take. If your child has a compromised immune system, work closely with your pediatrician to find ways to improve his or her immunity. Each child needs a personalized approach because their individual immune system varies, Dr. Lioudis says.

Source: Harvard Health Publishing (Harvard Medical School), Cleveland Clinic


Stellapharm is one of leading generics pharmaceutical companies and strong producer of anti-viral drugs in Vietnam. The company established in Vietnam in 2000; and focuses on both prescription drugs and non-prescription especially in cardiovascular diseases, antiviral drugs, anti-diabetics drugs, etc. and our products are now used by millions of patients in more than 50 countries worldwide.

The company is globally recognized for its quality through our facilities have been audited and approved by stringent authority like EMA, PMDA, Taiwan GMP, local WHO and others.

Additional information for this article: Stellapharm J.V. Co., Ltd. – Branch 1
A: 40 Tu Do Avenue, Vietnam – Singapore Industrial Park, An Phu Ward, Thuan An City, Binh Duong Province, Vietnam
T: +84 274 376 7470 | F: +84 274 376 7469 | E: | W:

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With age, the human immune system becomes less effective at tackling infections and less responsive to vaccinations. At the same time, the aging immune system is associated with chronic inflammation, which increases the risk of almost all conditions linked to old age. The good news is that exercising and adopting the right diet may help