Yes autumn (aka snot season!) is most definitely here. And whilst its lovely to be having wood fires again and wrapping up in hats and scarves, it does bring the inevitable sniffy noses, feeling run down and days off school or work.....big sighs.....
After completeting my studies and learning a little more about the importance of supplementing in certain situations, I regularly make sure I supplement my children's already pretty healthy diet. I see this as strengthening their own natural immune defences and keep them in optimal health throughout the year.
Nothing in this area is totally black and white and it really is up to the informed choice of the parent, but I would always say when asked why I choose to supplement, which is better - acting preventatively or waiting till the child is unwell then dosing up on Calpol or antibiotics? Most people now know the risk of antibiotics which should really only be given in an emergency situation and not for many seasonal illness' (remember antibiotics kill bacteria infections NOT viral!) But recently there has been much in the mainstream media about the overuse of Calpol with children. It should always be remembered that Calpol whilst suitable for children, is still paracetamol, a pharmaceutical drug which a small body has to process and detoxify. Paediatricians are now warning that overdoing paracetamol or giving high doses increases the risk of developing asthma, as well as kidney, heart and liver damage. It should only be given to a child in pain and discomfort or with a very high fever and not for general malaise or a slight temperature. Whilst given with the best intentions, parents can often do more harm than good.
So, to avoid these situations I try and make sure a. my children's diet is good (sometimes easier said than done!) and b. I give them supplements for areas I feel they may be deficient. There is much evidence and advice now given by the NHS about the importance of supplementing children under 5 living in the UK with vitamin D, A and C all of which play a crucial role in our immune defence.
I choose to give these vitamin to my children with an omega 3 fish oil high in DHA (Lamberts) to support cognitive function plus brain and eye development - again very well researched and documented health benefits. My children don't eat a lot of oily fish as much as I try (!) so I feel happier knowing they are getting a source from elsewhere to support their continuing development: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3738999/
I also feel a probiotic is justified in the winter months and there is some research on the reduction of common infectious diseases in children who are given probiotics https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20729255 And if you have had to given your child antibiotics, it is a good idea to look into building up their 'good' bacteria reserves again with a good quality probiotic supplement if possible. I like the brand Optibac as all their probiotics are fully backed up by current research.
Lastly, I use Sambucol, an elderberry extract, during winter also. Elderberry is a traditional method of warding off colds and flu. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27023596 And recent studies have also found it effective in the treatment of flu, cutting the severity and duration of the illness if taken soon after symptoms appear: http://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/news/20031222/elderberry-fights-flu-symptoms And most excitingly, no side effects. Always great to have in your bathroom cabinet I say!