Keeping Children Well

Learn about keeping children well in this informative page from Kelly Dorfman, MS, LND, author of Cure Your Child with Food: The Hidden Connection Between Food and Childhood Ailments.

Keep an Eye Out for Symptoms

My daughter’s friend came to spend the weekend. Afterwards, she told her mom she wanted to take vitamins like Tory because, “she never gets sick”. In truth, our family rarely gets what is “going around” because we have an effective natural medicine cabinet. At the first sign of illness, we reach for immune support.

Symptoms in Low/Non-Verbal Children

In low-verbal children, the first signs of illness can be hard to recognize. Sudden changes in behavior (increased aggression or self injurious behavior) are often the initial and sometimes only symptom of sickness or allergies.

Nervous system regulation trouble can distort the expected symptoms of bacteria and virus infestations, such as fever or fatigue. If a patient in a nursing home suddenly becomes aggressive, the staff know immediately to look for a urinary tract infection.

The behavior, not pain or fever, is the tip-off.

Yeast Symptoms

Yeast symptoms also signal pending illness. Remember, yeast thrive when the immune system is weakened. Bad breath (from yeast fermenting carbohydrate) and bowel changes from swelling yeast populations can precede illness.

Other Symptoms

Other symptoms to notice:

  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Grabbing or rubbing the stomach
  • Fingers in ears, nose or eyes
  • Screaming
  • Hands down pants
  • Picking at self

Before initial symptoms become sickness, consider supplements that boost immune functioning. Below are some general suggestions, not meant to substitute for appropriate medical treatment. See a professional for specific questions about individual children.

General Support

Vitamin C

Proven to reduce the severity of colds, vitamin C increases the body’s output of white blood cells called lymphocytes, which are the foot soldiers of the immune system.

Vitamin C is non-toxic because when too much is taken, the body excretes it as diarrhea. Children over two years of age can take 250 mg twice a day when run-down and children seven years old and up 500 mg or more, twice a day, depending on age and stomach sensitivity.


Good bacteria are the body’s first defense against invaders. A layer of bacteria coats all the epithelial surfaces (such as gut and lung linings) in healthy individuals. Maintaining this population helps repel bad bacteria and keeps the yeast population in control.

Increase good bacteria intake to boost your resistance to illness. Find refrigerated probiotics in powder or capsules and use at least a few billion per day. For children under six years of age, a billion or two bugs per day should suffice. If a child takes probiotics regularly, increase the amount temporarily when illness threatens.

For more information, read Beyond Probiotics by Ann Louise Gittleman.


Studies show that garlic, taken in capsules or as food, is effective at reducing yeast populations and improving immune competency.

For children who cannot swallow capsules, serve “therapeutic garlic bread”. Spread a piece of bread with butter or olive oil, then a layer of crushed garlic (available at the supermarket in jars). Sprinkle with salt to taste.

Colostrum and Transfer Factor

Both colostrum and transfer factor increase immune functioning in the gut, a major entry point for germs. Use one or the other as most transfer factor available by mouth is concentrated colostrum. For young children, one capsule two to thre times per day may be enough. Follow bottle instructions.

The Flu


This popular homeopathic remedy is a first-line defense against flu symptoms. While the instructions suggest ingesting the entire contents of one tube, some people report that 10-15 granules are enough (offering significant financial savings if used frequently). Take them 15 minutes away from food or mint-flavored toothpaste use. Only touch the remedy you will be using.


Yin Chiao

Yin chiao is a traditional Chinese herb formula taken the first 24-48 hours for colds that start as a sore/scratchy throat. Adults take 10-20 pellets three times per day for a few days at onset of symptoms. Children over six years of age who can swallow pellets can take half that amount.

Beware of buying yin chiao at Chinese grocers. Herbs imported directly from China can be laced with other medications. Metagenics has excellent quality control for Chinese herbs.

Keep these supports on hand. As one father said, “We don’t get colds any more since we discovered that Chinese stuff”. While the cold and flu cannot be cured, they may be able to be prevented.

About Kelly Dorfman MS LND

Kelly Dorfman is one of the world’s foremost experts on using nutrition therapeutically to improve brain function, energy and mood. Kelly’s special talent for integrating information from many sources and finding practical solutions has made her a popular speaker and workshop leader. She lectures extensively and is a member of Platform (formerly the National Speakers Association) and has been featured on numerous television programs including CNN’s American Morning.

Kelly’s award winning book, Cure Your Child With Food: The Hidden Connection Between Nutrition and Childhood Ailments (formerly known as What’s Eating Your Child) was given rave reviews by Publishers Weekly and the Washington Post.

As a go-to expert on nutrition issues, Kelly is frequently interviewed and quoted in the media. She has been featured in articles in The Wall Street Journal, Parade, Bethesda magazine, Living Without magazine, and the Huffington Post.

Kelly holds a master’s degree in nutrition/biology and is a licensed nutrition dietitian. She is a co-founder of Developmental Delay Resources, which has merged with Epidemic Answers. You can find out more about Kelly and her practice at

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Sources & References