Help your children avoid illness by boosting their immune system
This rainy season, it isn't just the sniffles that parents are worrying about. Amid this month's reports on the hand, foot and mouth disease that may have been behind some mysterious deaths of dozens of children in Cambodia since April, the Department of Health is urging Filipinos to practice good personal hygiene.
Apart from frequent hand-washing, parents can also help their children avoid getting ill by taking steps to strengthen their immune system, which may not yet be fully developed.
"Normally ang katawan natin, nagproproduce ng antibodies. Ito ang panlaban natin sa sakit. Ang bata, dahil sa kanyang edad, medyo hindi pa developed ang kanyang immune system," said pediatrician Dr. Hiyasmin Medillo-Lim in an interview on Unang Hirit on July 10.
The doctor said that the development of antibodies also depends on the child's exposure. She advised parents to make sure their children are up-to-date with their immunization. The Department of Health's Expanded Program of Immunization for children under five years old covers the following diseases: BCG, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, Hepatitis B, influenza, measles, mumps, rubella, and polio.
"Usually, within the first year, you should have one BCG, three Hepatitis B, one measles, three DPT, polio, at ang bago ngayon, for pneumonia and meningitis, MMR at rotavirus," said Medillo-Lim.
Besides vaccination, the doctor urged parents to strengthen their kids’ immune system by feeding them nutritious food. “We should remember, mayroon tayong five food groups. Carbohydrates, proteins like egg, fish, chicken, and then fruits and vegetables," she said, recommending oranges, guavas, bananas and apples.
"Nag-eenhance ng immune system particularly during stress, o kapag ang pasyente ay malnourished o may chronic illness," she added.
She also emphasized the importance of breastfeeding for babies up to two years old. "Mura na, maganda pa ang lalagyan at ang daming sustansya at proteksyon, both nutritional and non-nutritional benefits. Kumpletong-kumpleto," she said, noting that the colostrum, or the mother's first milk, contains immune boosters.
Children should also get eight to ten hours of sleep every night, and drink several glasses of water. The doctor also recommended at least one hour of exercise a day. – AC, GMA News
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