Parents if you’re raising a child with a compromised immune system, then we have something in common. My daughter has type 1 diabetes and sickle cell disease. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder that requires insulin for survival. According to JohnsHopkins.org, “In autoimmune diseases, the body attacks normal, healthy tissues. The cause is unknown. It is probably a combination of a person’s genes and something in the environment that triggers those genes.” While Sickle Cell Disease is a genetic blood disorder that can cause stroke, organ failure, and other health issues. Today, I’d like to share some tips to help parents cope even though they may have fears about their child’s health.
Stock Up On Meds
The first line of defense to keep a child with an immunodeficiency healthy is to get at least a 90 day supply of medication. Having the medication is helpful; especially, if you don’t want to leave your home unnecessarily.
Stay At Home
As much as possible stay home. Sure cabin fever is real, but to protect yourself and your family stay home. Especially, if the CDC has mandated that the best way to curb the pandemic is to stay home.
One way to boost your child’s compromised immune system is exercise if the child has the mobility to do so. Exercise helps regulate mood, increase endorphins, stimulate blood flow. According to the Harvard Health Blog Dr. John J. Ratey, “Engaging in exercise diverts you from the very thing you are anxious about. Moving your body decreases muscle tension, lowering the body’s contribution to feeling anxious.”
Even if you don’t have a backyard you can exercise in your home. Also getting fresh air and sunshine is important. Vitamin D helps boost a person’s immune response. The Pharmacy Times reports, “There are Vitamin D receptors and activating enzymes on the surfaces of all White Blood Cells. The role that vitamin D plays in keeping the immune system healthy is very complex because the immune system has to be perfectly balanced. If there is too much stimulation, autoimmune diseases can set in. If there is not enough immune system activity, frequent infections can occur.”
Eat Healthy Foods
Eating healthy foods rich in vitamins and nutrients will help the body produce healthier cells to fight off infections. Dr. Lisa Leslie shares a post on ways to boost your immune system visit her article “HOW TO JUMP START YOUR IMMUNITY & AVOID GETTING SICK.”
Find Ways to Relax
When the pandemic first started I had a lot of anxieties that were from unanswered questions, uncertainty, and fear about my family’s health. Once I recognized that my concerns were valid I sought answers, created a personal plan, and alleviated my fears by following the CDC suggested guidelines provided. Below are a few relaxation techniques for both parents and children:
▪️ Choose a quiet calm room and be still. If the beach is your calm place of relaxation, visualize that you’re beachside. Other places to visualize may be on a mountain, standing in a meadow, swimming, being on a scenic drive, with a loved one, etc.
▪️ Drink warm herbal tea slowly or even water. It forces you to pause and slow down. Try to avoid caffeinated teas that can get your heart racing.
▪️ Take a shower or a bath. The very sound of the water flowing down your face and body is therapeutic.
▪️ Take 10 deep breaths from your diaphragm.
▪️ Vent. Yes, talking to some people can relax you and may even help you find your own resolve.
▪️ Try coloring. The activity has proven to be calming for adults and children.
▪️ Blow bubbles. When I first started taking my daughter to her specialty appointments. The doctor would blow bubbles to help calm her. It always worked; therefore, it is something that stayed with us as a technique that works.
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