How to improve your child’s immune system

Throughout infancy, toddlerhood, childhood, and even into adulthood, your child’s immune system is hard at work fighting to keep harmful pathogens away.

Your child’s immune system is extraordinarily complex, so there is much to unpack. Read further to find out more

What Is The Immune System And How Does It Work?

The immune system is our own, built-in defense mechanism responsible for protecting the body from harmful pathogens.

It is a diversified and intricate system comprised of particular organs, cells, and messengers. These several actors collaborate to identify and eliminate pathogens that may cause us to become sick.

Why Is The Immune System Important?

Simply put, our immune system serves as our first line of defense against outside intruders. (a.k.a germs).

The immune system’s numerous organs, cells, and messengers cooperate to identify when invaders enter the body. They track down foreign pathogens and combat them to keep us healthy.

Pathogens are foreign intruders. The 200 or more bacteria linked to the common cold are among those that can make us sick. An antigen is something foreign to the body that triggers an immunological reaction.

Which Body Parts Make Up The Immune System?

Healthy immune system function is influenced by a variety of different factors, each of which plays a vital and distinct role. A few of these are:

1. White Blood Cells – White blood cells are among the most well-known participants in the immune system. This is because they carry out the crucial task of locating and eliminating unwelcome bugs and bacteria that could enter the body. White blood cells come in a variety of forms, but they are all created in the spongy tissue found inside our bones called bone marrow.

2. Antibodies – To aid in various immune reactions as well as the defense against foreign pathogens, our white blood cells create antibodies. These sophisticated antibodies can identify the bugs and notify the body, triggering an immunological reaction. You could want to think of antibodies as the immune system’s bounty hunters, hunting down and eliminating foreign intruders. They accomplish this by identifying chemicals called as antigens on the surfaces of foreign bacteria. When these antigens are recognized by our antibodies, they mark them for destruction and join the attack against them with other critical immune system cells, proteins, and chemicals.

3. The Lymphatic System – The lymphatic system is a network of organs and tissues that eliminate waste from the body. The tonsils are a lymphatic system component that you may be familiar with. In addition to containing many white blood cells, their position in the throat prevents pathogens from entering the body via the mouth and nose. Additionally, it includes a portion of the digestive system. It participates in the immunological responses that occur on mucous membranes, such as those lining the intestines. In addition to aiding in toxin elimination, the lymphatic system transports immune cells, including white blood cells, between tissues and into the bloodstream.

What Is The Difference Between Innate And Adaptive Immunity?

Did you know that your immune system has two distinct components, adaptive and innate immunity?

1. Innate Immunity – Innate immunity is the portion of the immune system that is established in the womb. Our innate immunity consists of physical barriers such as our skin and the mucus membranes that border our nose, mouth, throat, lungs, and digestive tract. Mucous membranes provide protection for these body parts, which are frequently exposed to foreign substances in the air we breathe and the food we consume. They accomplish this by capturing debris, dust, and bacteria for flushing away. The mucous membranes also include vital immune cells.

2. Adaptive Immunity – The capacity of the body to acquire immunity over time is known as acquired or adaptive immunity. In contrast to innate immunity, adaptive immunity develops in response to pathogen exposure. When the immune system responds to an invading pathogen, it recalls the infection. This is because of certain white blood cells known as “memory cells.”

Our memory cells are an essential component of our adaptive immunity, maintaining a record of all the pathogens that the body has previously fought off. Therefore, when the same pathogens attempt to re-invade, the body may be able to respond more effectively. You may therefore wonder, if adaptive immunity helps the body respond to familiar pathogens, why we are susceptible to recurring infections. A common example is the common cold. There are more than 200 distinct germs that can cause the common cold, and sadly, developing immunity to one of these viruses does not improve your immune response against the others.

How Does The Immune System Develop Over Time?

We are aware that immunity develops over time. During pregnancy, infancy, and early childhood, your child’s immune system is still in the early phases of development. What does this mean for your child?

Your Baby’s Immune System During Pregnancy

During pregnancy, your child develops from a cluster of cells to a completely developed infant. Over the course of nine months, as they grow and develop, so does their immune system.

Antibodies are a component of this and are transmitted from a mother to her unborn child.

Birth may also be a crucial time for a child’s immune system. During birth, bacteria are transferred from the mother to the infant, which aids in the development of a colony of healthy bacteria in the infant’s gut. As part of the development of a child’s healthy microbiome, this process changes depending on whether the infant is born vaginally or via C-section.

Determine the connection between your child’s microbiota and their healthy immune function.

Your Child’s Immune System During Infancy And Childhood

Your child’s immune system is underdeveloped throughout infancy since it has not yet encountered numerous pathogens. However, as they are exposed to various bugs over time, they develop adaptive immunity.

A newborn is born with antibodies that were transmitted from the mother during gestation.

In addition, as the immune systems battles various bugs and bacteria, they generate their own antibodies for future use.

What Factors May Affect Your Child’s Immune System?

Similar to many other elements of your child’s health and well-being, their immune systems may be affected by a variety of lifestyle factors.

If you have any worries about the health of your child’s immune system, consult a healthcare professional.

You may desire to discuss some of these factors with them during the appointment.


Similar to during pregnancy, a woman transmits antibodies and nutrients to her infant during breastfeeding. This facilitates the growth of their immature immune system.

In accordance with the Australian Government’s Infant Feeding Guidelines, infants should be exclusively breastfed until around 6 months of age.

In addition, it is suggested that infants continue to be breastfed as solid meals are given, at least until their first birthday.

You may support their healthy immune system with a balanced diet, as indicated in the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating, after they begin eating solids.

Learn which items to include in your child’s diet to promote a healthy intake of nutrients.


For your child’s healthy growth and development, it is essential that they receive sufficient sleep. This is in part because adequate sleep promotes the health and function of the immune system.

Consult a healthcare professional if you have any worries about your child’s sleeping patterns.


The immune system plays a crucial role in preserving our health and welfare. Consequently, similar to other essential biological activities, it requires the support of multiple nutrients.

These nutrients are often derived from a diet rich in fresh fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and protein.

To aid in the maintenance of your child’s healthy immune system, it is essential that they receive the RDA of vitamins and minerals.

Discover the essential nutrients that promote a healthy immune system, as well as the foods that contain them.

The Microbiome

Did you know that our bodies are home to a colony of 100 trillion germs that affect our health? The microbiome is composed of all the microorganisms that reside in and on the body.

The microbiome has multiple functions in the body, including aiding with food absorption, regulating the immune system, and protecting against harmful microorganisms.

The gut contains between 70 and 80 percent of the body’s immune cells, and a healthy microbiome promotes immune system health.

A healthy microbiome also supports the mucous membranes that line the nose, mouth, and throat, which are among the body’s first lines of defense.

By supporting their healthy bacteria balance with a probiotic, you may be able to assist maintain your child’s healthy microbiome.If you would like to learn more about probiotics, you may do so here.

If you have any concerns regarding your child’s microbiome, consult with your healthcare professional.

Immune System Nutrition: The Importance Of A Healthy Diet

As part of promoting your child’s general health and wellbeing, you should ensure he or she consumes a range of nutritious foods. This involves supporting the health and function of their immune system.

Vitamins And Minerals That Support Your Child’s Immune System

Various nutrients assist the immune system in a variety of ways. By feeding your child a mix of fruits, vegetables, proteins, dairy products, and whole grains, you can guarantee that he or she meets the RDA for each nutrient.

Consult an appropriately qualified health expert if you have concerns about your child’s food. You may also wish to discuss with them the following nutrients:

Vitamin A – Vitamin A promotes the growth and function of white blood cells and antibodies, which detect and destroy pathogens and parasites. This nutrient helps maintains the health of your child’s mucous membranes, the first line of defense against foreign intruders.

Dietary sources of vitamin A include:

  • Sweet potato
  • Carrots
  • Capsicum
  • Spinach

These foods contain betacarotene, which can be converted into vitamin A in the body.

Vitamin C – Vitamin C, one of the most well-known vitamins for immune system support, helps the body respond to foreign invaders.

Dietary sources of vitamin C include:

  • Kiwifruit
  • Tomatoes
  • Berries
  • Oranges
  • Lemons

Vitamin D – Vitamin D has a vital function in normal, healthy immune responses and encourages the creation of immune cells. Did you know that vitamin D is commonly referred to as the “sunshine vitamin”? Because our bodies can make it when exposed to sunlight, this is the case. Our vitamin D levels are determined by a mix of diet and sun exposure. In Australia, this is the primary source of vitamin D.

Zinc – Because it plays a role in immune cell formation and function, zinc is essential for building a healthy immunological response against invading pathogens. When the body has proper zinc levels, the immune response is optimally regulated.

Sources of zinc in the diet include:

  • Meat
  • Dairy products
  • Cereals
  • Seafood

Tips That May Help Support Your Child’s Immune System

As a parent, you may ask what you can do to promote the health of your child’s immune system. The following suggestions may aid in maintaining a healthy immune system so that it can continue to fight against parasites and pathogens:

👩‍🍼 If possible, breastfeed your infant during the first six months of life.

💤 Ensure that your child receives the proper amount of sleep each night.

🥗 Provide your youngster with a nutritious, diversified diet.

🦠 Encourage your child’s good hygiene by explaining how germs spread and instructing them in proper hand washing procedures.

Remember that your child’s immune system is their natural defense mechanism. Designed to repel harmful insects and diseases, it is highly intelligent and evolves over time. As their immune system learns and evolves in response to exposure, it is typical for your child to endure the occasional cold.



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