When we talk about immunity in childhood, parents often think that it is the ability of the child's body to cope with invading bacterial and viral agents. However, the immune system is something far more complex and is more related to the body's ability to maintain the internal balance of its cellular structures. Here are some important facts related to the immune system in children that are good to keep in mind:
1. The immune system is formed already during pregnancy – while still in the womb, your baby receives valuable antibodies from the mother. The genetic factor also has a role in the formation of the immune system.
2. After birth, the immune system is strengthened by valuable nutrients acquired through breastfeeding – initially it is the colostrum, which is very rich in immunoglobulins, and finally through the mother's breast milk.
3. An overly sterile environment is not good for children's immunity – the child's immune system is formed after it encounters the relevant microorganisms. A body that has not been in contact with these microorganisms cannot begin to recognize and neutralize them. It's enough to wash your child's hands regularly and observe basic hygiene habits, but don't panic if your toddler finds a piece of salt on the carpet and puts it in his mouth.
4. The immune system, both in children and in adults, depends on many factors - genetic predisposition, hardening, diet, exercise and sports, medication, environment. To maintain a good level of immunity in little ones, provide them with a healthy and nutritious diet and enough time for outdoor games.
5. Immunostimulants can help improve the condition of the immune system in children, but before you decide to take such measures, always consult a pediatrician
6. Hardening plays a leading role in building immunity - water, air and sun baths make the child's organism more resistant, so start tempering from an early age and be persistent in the application of hardening procedures.
7. Immunity is divided into several types:
General immunity– cells of the immune system circulate in the blood and lymph
Local immunity – immunity of the tissues of each individual organ,
Cellular immunity – this includes lymphocytes, macrophages, neutrophils, etc.,
Humoral immunity - the antibodies that the body forms against various antigens - foreign proteins that come into contact with the body.
8. Signs that a child is immunocompromised include:
- The child starts to get sick from infancy
- Diarrhea is an invariable symptom of any disease/infection.
- The child has a decreased appetite.
- Skin and visible mucous membranes are pale.
- It heals slowly - the disease lasts at least 14 days.
- There are chronic diseases or skin manifestations - frequent boils, atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, etc.
- It is easy to get sick - when visiting a garden, children's birthday party, children's corner
- There are enlarged lymph nodes - especially in the area of the neck, submandibular, etc.
- There is anemia - the child's hemoglobin is below 90 g/l.