Recurrent Infections

 

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Recurrent Infections

October 15, 2014

 

 

My child keeps getting infections, should I be concerned?

For many children and their parents, having colds, ear infections, and sinus infections is just a part of childhood.  If your child is having more than the “normal” number of infections or if the infections are particularly severe, you may want to consider investigating further.

 

How do I  know if these problems warrant further investigation? 

General guidelines described by the American Academy of Asthma, Allergy and Immunology are as follows:

• More than 4 courses of antibiotics per year in children or more than two courses per year in adults

• More than four new ear infections in one year after 3 to 5 years of age

• Pneumonia twice over any time

• The need for preventive antibiotics

• Any unusually severe infection caused by bacteria that usually do not cause problems for most people.

Of course, these are merely guidelines.  They are not hard and fast rules.  Talk to your primary doctor about whether you or your child is having more infections than would be expected.

 

What can cause recurring infections?

There are several underlying medical problems that could be contributing to recurrent infections.

These include

• Structural issues (tonsil and adenoid problems, childhood anatomy)

• Allergies

• Immune deficiency

• Exposures ( to infectious agents or to tobacco smoke).

 

What can be done about these underlying problems?

If the problem is structural, talk to your doctor about whether your child may outgrow the problem of if you should see an ENT doctor.

If  you suspect the problem is allergic or caused by an immunodeficiency, you should see an allergist/immunologist

If the problem is with exposures, then the only answer is to eliminate the exposure.

 

SUMMARY

Decide with your primary doctor if the number and type of infections are within the normal  range.

See the appropriate specialist if needed.

Limit exposures that contribute to recurrent infections.

 

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