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Your child has just been sick, and he coughs again, has a runny nose, has a fever. It seems to you that other children do not get sick as often or as badly. So maybe it's time to think about seeing an immunologist to check your child's immunity level?
Getting sick is closely related to the development ofimmunity . During illness, the immune system receives training to learn how to deal withinfections . Most common infections children get areviral diseases , which they infect each other at kindergarten or school.
When constant illness is the norm
The average 3-8-year-old gets sick 6 to 8 times a year. At the same time, these are minor infections, typical of childhood - colds, rhinitis, angina, pharyngitis. Infections usually occur in early spring, fall or winter - when a child has constant contact with a large group of peers. They are mild, treat well, do not cause complications, and the periods between subsequent infections are fully he althy.
Child with an immunologist - what will the doctor ask
If your child is ill often, you can go to the website www.niedoboryodporności.pl and take a test. Its results will tell you whether you should have a specialist examination for an immune disease. It is worth asking for a referral to a specialist if your child meets any of the criteria described in the box on the right. You need to prepare for the visit, because in addition to the tests ordered by the immunologist (including blood tests), he will conduct a very detailed interview about the child's he alth. He will ask about a history of diseases, chronic diseases, allergies, duration of infection, reactions to the treatment, the he alth condition of people close to the child, as well as whether there have been deaths of children under 2 in your family, and if so, what were their causes. - A detailed interview with the child's family allows us to take appropriate steps faster - explains Dr. n. med. Anna Pituch-Noworolska, head of the Department of Immunology at the University Children's Hospital in Krakow, expert of the campaign "Put on immunity - start with diagnosis". - It is important not to avoid answering difficult questions, i.e. Fr.death of family members or chronic illness, as these are important clues for a physician to suggest the possibility of a family history of primary immunodeficiency. Thanks to this, it is possible to make an early diagnosis and start treatment, which consists in the prophylactic administration of immunoglobulins (immune proteins) and modification of symptomatic treatment, which reduces the frequency of infections and improves the quality of life of a small patient - he adds.
Maybe it's an allergy?
Before making a definitive diagnosis, your doctor must also rule out other conditions that can cause frequent infections, such as bronchial asthma, chronic sinusitis, bronchiolitis, allergic rhinitis, and cystic fibrosis. Therefore, if you have already visited other specialists before the immunologist, bring your child's test results to the visit.Important
There are children who get sick more often, longer and more severely than others, but the practice of many pediatricians shows that treating a child as sick can be unfounded. Therefore, specialists from the Jeffrey Modell Foundation in cooperation with American and European immunologists have developed criteria to assess whether a child may have immunity problems. The presence of one or more of them is an indication for a detailed study of the immune system.
Ask your pediatrician to refer you to an immunologist if your child:
- grows poorly, does not gain weight, its development does not remain within a constant statistical range (percentile grid);
- suffered from otitis media at least 8 times a year, had pneumonia twice or more, and severe sinusitis;
- had to be given long-term intravenous antibiotics due to severe illness;
- has recurrent skin or organ abscesses;
- suffers from chronic fungal infection;
- must be given antibiotics during illness
- intravenously, because the oral ones don't work;
- had a serious systemic infection at least twice in his life, e.g. sepsis, osteomyelitis;
- has older siblings with diagnosed immunodeficiency.
- It is also worth visiting a specialist when a child gets sick several times a year - in the season of increased illnesses, i.e. in autumn and winter, it means practically one infection per week