Sep 11, 2017

Dr. Gellner: We all wish our immune system was better than it is sometimes, especially, with our kids and how often they get sick. Pediatricians get asked about immune system boosters all the time. I'll let you know the top three questions and whether they are fact or fiction on today's Scope. I'm Dr. Cindy Gellner.

Announcer: Remember that one thing, that one person told you, that one time, about what you should or shouldn't do with raising your kids? Find out if it's true or not, this is Debunking Old Wives Tales with Dr. Cindy Gellner on the Scope.

Dr. Gellner: Our immune systems are the soldiers that fight off germs. Sounds simple, right? But what we do, can have a big impact on those soldiers. Parents often want pediatricians to reinforce to kids that eating fruits and veggies keeps our immune system strong. This one's a fact. So, when you're serving them to your kids, you're giving their immune system nutrients that fight viruses and bacteria, remind them about how strong their bodies will be.

What about the advice that getting enough sleep, affects your immune system? This one is true also. There's a strong link between getting restorative sleep which is getting enough sleep for the body to do its work with growing and fighting off illness. With school schedules keeping kids up later and making them get up earlier for school sometimes, or kids who don't keep a sleep schedule at all during the summer, kids build up sleep debt, and they can't make that up with naps or sleeping in on weekends. Sticking to a good consistent sleep schedule is what helps the most.

A lot of parents ask about supplements that can boost their child's immune system. Giving your child extra vitamins and minerals will help them stay healthy, right? That one's a myth. Giving your picky or junk food eater a multivitamin is a good idea to help them stay healthy, but they haven't been proven to help the immune system. Even vitamin C can only help so much. Remember even though vitamins and supplements are over the counter, they are still drugs. And if you give your child too much, they can be harmful.

While I wished there was a prescription I can give my patients to make their immune system strong enough to fight off every illness because I'd give it to my kids and I'd take it myself, there is no magic medicine. What is really going to help your child's immune system, is making sure they are rested and eat healthy.

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