Food Key to Bug Battle

Courier Mail

Up the greens for stronger winter immunity


BOOMERANG bugs that just keep coming back to childcare kids and their parents could be wiped out by better diets, experts advise.

A large part of a child’s immune system is based in their gut and strengthening the gut’s microbiota should help boost immature immunity, accredited Brisbane dietitian Kate Di Prima said.

“No amount of good eat-ing is going to wipe out every snotty bug among little kids who pass them on from hand to mouth but the right nutrition can certainly give them a fighting chance,” she said.

“Probiotics can bolster the healing process. They can come in the form of a good natural yoghurt or in fermented drinks and capsules.”

Ms Di Prima said the rollercoaster of regular antibiotics and painkillers could upset the natural process of eliminating bacteria, and vitamin C, zinc and iron were good bug busters.

“Vegetable intake should really blow out in the winter. Casseroles and stews that are laden with vegetables are a good start and zinc and iron are covered with inclusion of fish, chicken, red meat, legumes and eggs,” she said.

Queensland Health warns that the best method of preventing the cycle of bugs spreading is to exclude a sick child from kindy until they are no longer infectious.

Children with the flu must stay away until completely well and with hand, foot and mouth disease until blisters have dried. Kids with diarrhoea must not go to kindy until 24 hours after final bout. Cold sores do not re-quire exclusion if they are covered. Strep throat requires exclusion until antibiotics have been administered for 24 hours.

Lucy Cook, general manager of Amaze Early Education Centres, encourages parents to build up their kids with nutritious food over the winter months and keep them home if they are sick.

“Unfortunately, some parents do send children to care unwell. We take the health of our families very seriously as we are aware infection can be spread easily when young children are in a group,” she said.

When to stay away from childcare:
Strep throat
Source: Queensland Health