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Keep Kids Healthy This Summer with Sherry Torkos

By HERWriter Blogger
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have healthy kids this summer with Sherry Torkos Alena Ozerova/PhotoSpin

Sherry Torkos, a holistic pharmacist, author, certified fitness instructor and mother, understands that it is hard to keep kids healthy. She knows this challenge is especially difficult when kids have their routines disrupted, like during summer vacation. And with young kids getting up to eight colds a year, getting one in summer is not uncommon.

Torkos shared her keys to keeping kids safe and healthy this summer with us.

1) Do kids get sick during the summer? Even when it's not cold and flu season?

Yes, kids and adults can get colds and flu during the summer months. Weather does not cause cold/flu. They are caused by viruses. They are more common during the fall and winter when people spend more time indoors.

The incidence of cold and flu rises during the fall when school starts and kids are indoors more and in closer contact. The drier air of winter can cause dry nose and mouth, and that can make it easier for viruses to enter the body.

2) Can taking vitamins help eliminate the threat of illness in kids? And if so, what should they be taking?

Vitamins and supplements can play an important role in supporting good health and preventing and treating various health issues. Here are some supplements to consider for kids, depending on their individual needs:

Multivitamin – A good multi is important for kids to ensure their bodies are getting all essential nutrients. Some kids are very picky eaters. It can be particularly hard to get kids to eat certain vegetables like spinach, broccoli, kale and cauliflower.

Look for a multi that is free of dyes and chemical fillers, and is geared toward your child’s age. There are great tasting gummies and chewable tablets available at most health food stores and pharmacies.

Probiotics – These are beneficial bacteria that support good health by aiding digestion and nutrient absorption, improving immune function, and warding off infections. They are particularly important to consider if your child has taken antibiotics, has digestive problems like gas, constipation or diarrhea, or gets frequent infections.

It is also good to take a probiotic when traveling to foreign countries to reduce the risk of traveler’s diarrhea. Look for UP4 Kids Cubes probiotics, which are a chewable white chocolate flavor kids will like and stable at room temperature.

Fiber – it is really hard to get kids to consume enough fiber because fiber-rich foods such as whole grains and vegetables are not typical kid favorites. As a result many kids struggle with constipation and digestive problems. To ensure your child is getting enough fiber consider a supplement.

Supplements vary greatly in form (tablets, powders), quality and taste. One that I often recommend is called Sunfiber. I like this particular one because it is tasteless, odorless and it mixes well with any liquid, even water, and it does not get thick once you mix with liquid.

Sunfiber is rich in soluble fiber and it can help promote regularity, aiding both constipation and diarrhea. It is available online and in certain health food store chains such as GNC.

Fish Oil – Fish provide omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential fatty acids that are vital for the development and health of the brain, joints and heart. It is often difficult to get kids to eat fish with the stronger smell and taste.

A good quality omega-3 fatty acid supplement is a great way to ensure your child is getting enough of these essential fats. There are liquids available that don’t taste fishy (such as SeaLicious and NutraSea) and you can also find fish oil gummies.

3) Is hand washing something that should be focused on to keep kids healthy?

Absolutely. Hand washing is critical to prevent the spread of viruses and other germs. Plain old soap and water is ideal however it is also good to carry a hand sanitizer with you for times when you don’t have access to soap and water. You can find hand sanitizer that fight germs with essential oils such as thyme, oregano and tea tree oil.

4) Should parents be worried about toxins in some protective items like sunscreen and bug spray?

I think it is important for parents to be very cautious about every chemical they consider putting on their child. The safety and risks of many of the chemicals present in sunscreens such as oxybenzone and in bug sprays like DEET have been called into question.

As a pharmacist and a mom I choose to use natural mineral-based (zinc) sunscreens on my child and bug sprays that are comprised of essential oils that have natural insect-repellent properties such as citronella, lemongrass oil and cedar oil.

5) Do healthy habits, like getting enough sleep, help keep kids from getting sick?

Yes, this makes a big difference. Getting adequate sleep, regular exercise and eating a healthful diet are important lifestyle factors that impact physical and emotional well being for children and adults. If a child is not getting enough sleep that can compromise the function of the immune system and make the child predisposed to getting sick.

Regular exercise is also known to be very important for a proper functioning immune system. And as for diet, there are various nutrients such as vitamins C and D, which are critical to the function of immune system. If these nutrients are deficient or lacking in the diet this can affect the body’s ability to fight off infection.


Emailed interview. 17 July 2014 with Sherry Torkos.

Babyzone.com. Web. 23 July 2014. "Kids and summer colds."

Reviewed July 25, 2014
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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