Today, we are continuing with our Immunity Series and focusing on some of those recurrent infections in kids such as ear infections, croup and tonsillitis.

This episode is going to give you an insight into why your child may be experiencing these recurrent infections. Also give you some places to start when looking at why they may be occurring. 

Listen in as I delve deeper into these helpful tips:

  • The importance of including immune-boosting nutrients into your kids’ diet: Zinc, Vitamin C and D (and where to get them)
  • Uncovering any food allergies, intolerances or sensitivities, or even environmental sensitivities 
  • Supporting your kids’ gut health
  • Considering  specific support for the particular recurrent infection through herbs and other natural remedies

Episode Links:


Well hello there, Jessica Donovan here!

Thank you so much for joining me on the Natural Super Kids Podcast. Today, we are continuing with our immunity series. We’re going to be focusing on some of those pesky, well, more than pesky, recurrent infections in kids. Things like ear infections, croup and tonsillitis that some kids just seem to get over and over and over again. So this episode is going to give you some really great places to start if you have a child that has some of these recurrent infections. This will give you an insight into why your child may be experiencing these recurrent infections. So stay tuned. We are going to get into it in just a moment.

First, I have a very exciting announcement!

Registrations have just opened for my free upcoming online masterclass. The 3 Simple Ways to Naturally Boost your Kids’ Immunity to avoid a winter full of sickness. Whoo! That’s a bit of a mouthful. So I want you to press pause. Head on over to the show notes, click on the link to register for this masterclass. I am doing this masterclass live three times on the 15th, the 16th and the 17th of June. So you have a variety of days and times to choose from. I want you to do your best once you register to show up live to the masterclass because you will get a much richer experience. If you’re live, you have the opportunity to ask me questions that I can answer. You will also be eligible for our live attendee bonus which you won’t want to miss.

So make sure that you go on over and register for the upcoming masterclass. The 3 Simple Ways to Naturally Boost your Kids’ Immunity.

These are tools that are going to really come in handy for you as parents. In terms of those things that we can do to strengthen our kids’ immune systems to reduce how often they get sick. To reduce their severity of sickness when they do get sick and how they bounce back much faster. You won’t have those lingering coughs and colds and infections that go on for weeks or even months. I know it’s exhausting as a mum, or a parent when your kids are sick. I want to ensure that your family has a healthy winter with these strategies. These strategies are things that I use with my own family to make sure that everyone’s immune system is as strong and healthy as possible. They’re also strategies that I use with my naturopathic clients.

Make sure you head on over and register for the masterclass because you will get lots of practical tips and strategies. It will be lots of fun as well. It’s more than just a one-off masterclass. You’ll get invited to our pop up Facebook group that will help to support and inspire you through the masterclass experience. There’ll be some little bonus trainings, we’ll have some prizes up for grabs. And it’s really great to just kind of be in a community of mums that are all on the same page and are all wanting to boost their kids’ immune systems. We can share ideas and just feel really inspired about having a nice, healthy winter. So I will see you there at the masterclass. 

Now, let’s get into today’s episode. As I said, we’re talking about recurrent infections. Some kids just seem to be prone to recurrent infections. Whether it’s cough and colds, viruses or things like ear infections, croup and tonsillitis. These are the three recurrent infections we’re going to be really focusing on today. Because these are the most common recurrent infections that I see as a naturopath within my practice. Within the Klub membership and from the families that I work with. So I want to go through really four main points when it comes to recurrent infections in kids. Generally, there is some sort of a trigger or underlying cause that is leading to these kinds of recurrent infections. 

Let’s just be clear. Some of these tips are definitely going to be applicable for that one-off case of tonsillitis or that one-off ear infection. There’s definitely going to be some practical tips in this episode that will help you think about some things that you can do in those one-off cases of infections. But it’s going to be even more valuable to you if you have one of those children that gets ear infections all the time. Or seems to pick up croup all the time, or you know, suffers with tonsillitis recurrently. And so we’re going to be delving into some of these underlying triggers that lead to recurrent infections in kids. 

The first thing that we want to be thinking about when it comes to immunity in our children and our family is boosting those immune-boosting nutrients. Boosting the amount of these nutrients in our children’s diet, and potentially in supplements as well. Now, there’s all kinds of different nutrients that are involved in immunity and in strengthening the immune system. But there’s three that I really want to focus on, sort of making a point of today. They are zinc, vitamin C and vitamin D. In the very first episode of this immunity series, we talked about the difference between adaptive and innate immunity. We also talked about the fact that nutrients power the immune system.

If you listen to that episode, you will remember or you may remember, I want to remind you about the neutrophils. Neutrophils are those cells that are involved in that first line defense against an infection. They’re very generalised. They cruise around the bloodstream and they engulf anything that is foreign. Zinc and vitamin C particularly, helped to power those neutrophils. They will strengthen that first line defense against infections that our kids might come in contact with. So we want to make sure that our kids are having a really good amount of zinc and vitamin C, in their diets through the winter time, particularly. 

Let me talk about some of the foods that these nutrients are found in. Zinc is found in fish and seafood, particularly things like oysters are really high in zinc. I know lots of kids will not even touch oysters. And it’s not probably one of the foods that are on your on your menu throughout the winter. But they are a really good source of zinc. All fish and seafood contain zinc. Red meat is also a good source of zinc. If you have a child who doesn’t eat any meat. Potentially they’re vegan or your family is vegan or vegetarian, or they don’t like fish and seafood. Then you can see where deficiencies in zinc can easily occur. Lots of fussy kids will be deficient in zinc because they don’t like meat, they don’t like fish.

So these are the sorts of foods that we want to be thinking about increasing in our kids diets. To increase the amount of zinc that they are getting. There are definitely vegetarian sources as well. That’s good news. Nuts and seeds will contain zinc particularly pumpkin seeds or pepitas, those little green seeds. You can grind those up and sprinkle them over your kids’ porridge in the morning. Or you can add them to baking, muesli bars and cookies that you might be making. You know, they’re a really easy addition into homemade mueslis or granolas. pumpkin seeds or pepitas don’t have too much of a strong taste. They’re a really great way to start to increase zinc in your kids’ diets. 

When it comes to vitamin C, vitamin C is found in fruits and vegetables. Of course things like oranges and other citrus fruits. Kiwi fruits, red and yellow capsicums are all very high in vitamin C. These are things we want to be including in our kids’ diets regularly. The thing with vitamin C is it’s really easily damaged by heat and processing. So we want to make sure that we’re getting some raw fruits and vegetables into our kids’ diets to optimise the amount of vitamin C that they are getting. We also might want to consider supplements when it comes to zinc and C. I always recommend seeking professional help from a naturopath or nutritionist when it comes to giving supplements to kids.

This is something we offer here at Natural Super Kids as well. You can have a look at our website if you’re interested in getting some advice around some of these immune boosting supplements for kids. Zinc and vitamin C is something that I prescribe and recommend to a lot of our clients and members as an immune system booster. It’s certainly something that I have in my pantry that I am giving to my kids regularly throughout the winter. Especially dosing them up at the first sign of any type of infection. But to give general advice in terms of dosages, and specific supplements is not something that I like to do online over a podcast. Or you know, any other online sort of means.

So it is really important to get some advice that’s specific for your children. Zinc and vitamin C are really important nutrients for the immune system. Then I also mentioned vitamin D. Now it is crazy how many kids in Australia, in sunny Australia are deficient in vitamin D. Vitamin D is really important for immunity in quite a few different ways. It is very important for that defensive side of the immune system. But it’s also really important in regulating the immune system. Any kids with allergies, atopic conditions like eczema asthma, will benefit from some extra vitamin D. Vitamin D comes from the sun, mainly, but we can get it through food as well.

My recommendation when it comes to vitamin D, particularly through the winter is make sure that your kids are getting plenty of outdoor time. They’re getting that skin exposure for vitamin D. I did an Instagram post, a reel on vitamin D that will give you some little tips. I’m going to link that in the show notes. I’ve just made a little note because I think that will be really helpful. As far as food sources of vitamin D, it tends to be found in fatty types of foods. Oily fish, liver, egg yolks contain vitamin D. You can see that apart from egg yolk, some of these foods are often not in plentiful supply in kids’ diet. So we can definitely work on increasing some of those foods to increase our kids’ intake of vitamin D.

That sun exposure is really where I would be focusing on making sure that your kids are getting that adequate vitamin D3. Healthy sun exposure through the winter, particularly. You may also want to consider a vitamin D supplement. Vitamin D is something you can get tested fairly easily, it’s a simple blood test. Although that’s not always easy when it comes to getting blood tests for kids. So it might be something that you want to consider and think about to determine what your child’s vitamin D levels are. Particularly before supplementing. Again, getting some professional advice from a Naturopath or similar, in terms of supplementing when it comes to vitamin D, vitamin C or zinc is what I would recommend.

Really increasing those immune boosting nutrients in supplements can help with these recurrent infections. Lots of kids with recurrent infections are vitamin D deficient or are zinc deficient. Or aren’t getting enough vitamin C in their diet. So that is the first consideration when it comes to these recurrent infections. The second thing that I want to talk about is addressing allergies, intolerances and sensitivities. There’s often an underlying trigger that leads to recurrent infections. From all of my years practicing as a Naturopath and from the research, we know that allergies, intolerances and or sensitivities can often be involved in these recurrent infections.

For example, when it comes to ear infections. The research shows that up to 78% of kids with recurrent ear infections have a food allergy or a food sensitivity. That’s a huge percentage. You can see there’s a very strong link there when it comes to ear infections. Croup is linked with allergies as well. They can be either food allergies, environmental allergies, atopic conditions. Asthma which is an a atopic or an allergic condition is strongly linked with croup. We know that kids that get a lot of croup when they’re young, have a much higher incidence of developing asthma later on. So there’s that definite link between that atopic tendency and croup.

As I said, I’ve found in my practice, that a lot of kids with croup also have an allergy or an intolerance or sensitivity. Tonsillitis is very much the same. A lot of kids that get recurrent tonsillitis have this swelling. These enlarged tonsils that lead to a high incidence of infection. When we’re getting swelling in the tonsils, we have to ask ourselves, what’s causing this swelling? Where is this swelling come coming from? There’s always some inflammation in the body that’s leading to that swelling of the tonsils. Inflammation is often a result of allergies or intolerances.

Allergies and intolerances is a big subject. I dive into this subject in episode nine of the podcast, if you want to go back and have a listen to that. I talked about the difference between allergies and sensitivities and intolerances. Definitely have a listen to that if you’re interested in knowing more about this. If your child does have recurrent ear infections, tonsillitis, croup, I would highly recommend that you work with a practitioner. To address and uncover any food allergies, intolerances or sensitivities. Even environmental sensitivities, intolerances or allergies because both can definitely affect these recurrent infections.

When it comes to food triggers, food allergies or intolerances, dairy is the most common that I see in these kinds of infections. In air infections, croup, tonsillitis, and I talk more about dairy in episode eighteen. Again, if you are suspecting that your child might have a sensitivity or an intolerance to dairy, I would highly recommend having a listen to Episode 18. But it’s not always dairy. That’s why it’s important to be working with a practitioner to try and figure all of this out. It’s like a big puzzle when it comes to chronic and recurrent issues in kids. As a parent, it can be really hard. One, you’re not trained to kind of work out what’s going on and two, you’re living in it. So it can be really hard.

What might be really obvious to a practitioner is not always obvious to you. So I would highly recommend that you do book an appointment to work with a practitioner to figure out what is going on for your child. Dairy is a common sensitivity that can lead to these recurrent infections. But gluten, egg, soy, and so many more can be contributing as well. It’s a bit of work to do elimination diet and that sort of thing. So you want to make sure that your time and effort is well spent. That’s where working with a practitioner can really be beneficial. But I find, as I said that almost all kids with these recurrent infections will have some sort of sensitivity, intolerance or allergy.

Whether it’s diagnosed or not, that is leading to the inflammation that is causing these recurrent infections. So it’s really an important area that you need to be thinking about. The next area that I want to talk about is supporting gut health. This is really important when it comes to immunity in general. A good, healthy, robust immune system depends on a good, healthy, robust gut. The gut microbiome plays a big role in that. If we have kids with gut issues, they almost always have some sort of an immune issue as well. So we want to have that holistic approach to these recurrent infections in kids. We want to be supporting gut health.

The gut and the state of the gut in a child is really important when it comes to the strength and the robustness of the immune system. It’s also really important when it comes to immune regulation. And when we’re talking about allergies, intolerances, sensitivities, potentially triggering or being a really big part of the onset of these recurrent infections. If we can work on gut health, it can start to improve that allergic tolerance. So addressing food allergies, and intolerances is not all about just removing that offending food. It’s about improving that allergic tolerance. At some point, that child is going to be able to tolerate that food down the track.

Working on gut health is one of the most important things that we need to do to improve that allergic tolerance and also gut imbalances. Things like leaky gut, which are really common, otherwise known as as dysbiosis or gut permeability. There’s a whole heap of different names for leaky gut. But leaky gut and gut imbalances lead to more inflammation, lead to the development of food intolerances. You can see how these things all go hand in hand. Often when we’re not getting on top of our kids’ health issues. Whether it’s recurrent infections, or something else, it’s because one of these elements is out of whack or isn’t being addressed. So we need to be thinking about all of these things at once.

Supporting gut health is really important. If you are unsure about where to start on this, I would highly recommend that you click on the link to the show notes for this episode. You can download our free Gut Health for Kids eBook. That gives you some really practical ways to start working on your kids’ gut health. I don’t want to go into the specifics in this episode. But I just wanted to mention that it is a really important area to be focusing on and our gut health ebook will give you a really good start. If you’re a Natural Super Kids Klub member, you also have a whole heap of other gut resources in the Klub membership portal. Including our Gut Healing cheat sheet.

This gives you some specific recommendations on what you can do to start healing and improving your kids’ gut health. If you’re a Klub member, you can have a look at that in the membership portal. And if you’re not a Klub member, we are going to be opening the Klub very soon. I’ll pop a link to the waitlist in the show notes as well. You can pop your name on the waitlist, and you’ll be the first to know when we open the doors. We’re going to be opening in June, so not too far away at all. We have a whole heap of resources in there for both improving your kids’ immune system and improving your kids gut health. That might be interesting to some of you listening. 

So we’ve talked about getting in more of those immune boosting nutrients. We’ve talked about addressing those allergies, intolerances and sensitivities. Then we’ve talked about supporting gut health, and those two things definitely go hand in hand. The fourth thing I want you to consider is specific support for the particular recurrent infection and the particular area of the body that is being affected by these recurrent infections. I’m going to give you some examples, general recommendations for ear infections, croup and tonsillitis. I also want to mention, there’s going to be a lot of links in the show notes for this episode.

I do have articles and Facebook lives that I’ve done on each of these particular infections. Ear infections, croup and tonsillitis. If you want to know more about specific recommendations for these particular infections, you can head on over to the show notes. Click on those links to read more in depth articles and look at the research involved in each of these different recurrent infections. 

Ear infections – this is a big one and lots of families struggle with ear infections. When we’re thinking about specific support for ear infections, I really like topical things that we can actually use in the ear to help to get rid of that infection. I really like using garlic oil. Again, you don’t want to be doing these things without professional recommendations. It’s really important that there’s no burst ear drum if you’re putting things into the ear. You definitely want to get clarification from a doctor that the ear drum is not burst before you use anything in the ear. Garlic oil can be really effective.

There’s a herb called mullein, which is M-U-L-L-E-I-N. It’s a great herb to use topically for ear infections. Another herb that I love using for ear infections is eyebright. Using that not directly in the ear but taking eyebright internally. Whether it’s in a tea or a herbal tincture for kids, works really well and that can be really great for helping with the symptoms of ear infection. Also to help with that immune-boosting side. So they’re the specific support, herbs and treatments that I would recommend for ear infections. When it comes to croup, obviously, we want to be working on that chest. There are some beautiful herbs that we can use when it comes to croup and other chesty coughs. I really love licorice.

I love thyme, and I love ginger. Croup responds really well to medicinal mushrooms as well. Things like reishi and shiitake and coriolus. You can often find these in blends. I think that medicinal mushrooms work really well because they have that immune boosting properties. They also have immune regulating properties so they can really help to dampen down an overactive immune system. Croup is often linked with allergies, atopic conditions, asthma, things like that. So those medicinal mushrooms can work really well for croup. Then when it comes to tonsillitis, I really like a simple salt-water gargle can work really well.

Herbs such as sage, licorice again, and marshmallow root which is very soothing to the throat can really help with that localized inflammation. They work really well for tonsillitis. With these specific remedies, and specific support for these particular areas, again, getting professional support is always recommended. But these herbs can really help to reduce the need for harsher medications. Things like antibiotics, if we get onto them early enough. So hopefully, that really helped in terms of those specific supports for recurrent infections. I just want to summarise, some of those points that we’ve talked about.

Number one was improving or increasing those immune boosting nutrients in the diets or in supplement form. They were zinc, vitamin C and vitamin D. The second thing we want to be thinking about is uncovering and addressing food. Environmental allergies, intolerances and sensitivities, which are very commonly linked to these recurrent infections. Third was to support and optimise gut health. That is important for both the strength of those immune defenses and regulating the immune system as well. Then number four was considering specific support. Herbal support for the particular recurrent infection that your child is commonly suffering from. 

I really hope that that was helpful and it gave you a bit of a different way of looking at some of these recurrent infections. As opposed to just antibiotics or cough mixtures, which of course, are sometimes helpful and even sometimes necessary. If we can avoid medications that have side effects, that’s always a good thing. Here at Natural Super Kids, we’re all about supporting the body to fight off the infection rather than kind of taking something that’s going to fight the infection for it. Which is what antibiotics do. So, I really just want to make sure that I’m empowering you to think about some of these common conditions and infections that our kids are suffering from in a bit of a different way. 

I would love to hear from you! Send me a DM on Instagram if you found this episode helpful. Send it to a friend if you think that they would benefit. Any sharing of the podcast you can do is really appreciated. Next week, I’m going to be back with our last episode in our immunity series. I will see you then!


Subscribe and share our podcast!