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Q&A:
How can I build up my 22-month-old's immune system?

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Question


My 22-month-old has begun to go to a day care center. I've heard that kids get sick a lot during the first year of close contact with other kids. To boost her immune system, I started to give her deodorized garlic tablets, but then I got concerned about other ingredients and whether they are safe to give to a baby. They are: dicalcium phosphate, microcrystalline cellulose, vegetable stearic acid, croscarmellose sodium, vegetable magnesium stearate, and colloidal silicon dioxide. And do you have any other ideas on how to boost a baby's immune system?

Answer

Your own health care provider or pharmacist has references dealing with nonprescription medicine, so check with one of them. Nonprescription medicines, including some labeled "natural," can be quite harmful. The minerals you list, such as calcium and magnesium, may be harmful, although I couldn't know for sure without knowing the amounts. The other filler ingredients may prevent absorption of the nutrients in her regular diet.I'd stop giving the tablets to her as there is no proven benefit and there is potential harm. In general, it's not good to give children medicine designed for adults. I'd throw it out or take it yourself if you wish. A good balanced diet with lots of vitamin C, very good handwashing by the day care staff, and careful diaper changing at the center are the proven ways to minimize disease transmission. But no matter how careful everyone is, your child will face more illnesses in that first year. The good news is that she will thereby build immunity that will help her get through the next several years.

 
 
 
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