For over 20 years now, I have consisitently seen a significant rise in patients bringing in children with respiratory or other illness beginning with the week after Halloween. Often behavioral changes are noted too.
Why you might ask? In my opinion, based on what I've observed with those patients with seasonal sickness, it is due to a weakening of the immune system due to excessive sugar intake. The immune weakness leads to susceptibility to sinus and other upper respiratory infections.
Eating or drinking 100 grams (8 tbsp.) of sugar, the equivalent of one 12-ounce can of soda, can reduce the ability of white blood cells to kill germs by forty percent. The immune-suppressing effect of sugar starts less than thirty minutes after ingestion and may last for five hours. Excessive sugar consumption is one cause of immune system weakening habits and there are 3 other common ones.
Most children enjoy dressing up in their favorite character or spooky creation. I know I did as a child. Now I love Halloween parties (that's me on the left in the picture above). Most children's goal for the annual "trick or treating" event is all about "the haul". In other words how much candy, and other treats, can be obtained and brought home. I've read that "the fun-sized candy bars often handed out to eager trick-or-treaters contain obscene amounts of sugar: an average fun-sized Snickers has 7.4 grams sugar, a shocking 49 percent of the average person’s recommended daily sugar intake. A holy grail among kids, the king-sized Snickers holds a whopping 55.7 grams of sugar." Imagine how much sugar is in the whole pillow case full!
So what is a parent to do? Our children (now grown) went out every year "trick or treating" as well...but we has a special agreement with out children that helped them NOT succumb to the immune weakening ravages that excess sugar consumption can cause. We agreed ahead of time that whatever "haul" they ended up with would be divied up into two piles: 10 items they absolutely wanted and the rest could be traded in for thier favorite Beany Baby (these were a HOT ticket back then). Our children loved this idea. We would dispose of the large majority of the candy our children brought home and we would take the children to the toy store so they could pick out one of their favorite Beanie Babies. The 10 treats they kept were rationed at one item per day...or they could stretch that out longer - their choice. The concept works quite well and our children were sickness free!
Of course in addition to the reduced holiday candy consumption we provided regular chiropractic care which has been show to improve immune system function and we also provided a healthy diet for our children. Our health diet consisted of proteins, vegetables, fruits, limited fruit juices, no soda pop, and healthy cereals.
I have suggested my patients consider implemting a similar strategy with their children and they have discovered it works for them as well. Perhaps you can try it too!