Top reasons behind a weakening immune system in infants
The immune system in humans consists of a series of cells and tissues that play a huge role in defending your body against harmful pathogens, and build our resistance to fight recurring infections. But an infant’s immune system isn’t robust until around 2 to 3 months from birth, and is still under development. Therefore, their vulnerability to viruses, harmful bacteria and other invading microbes is very high. Such babies often catch infections early on and display symptoms such as difficulty in breathing and food intake, bluish skin or lip color, dehydration, persistent fever and a constant lethargy or failure to wake up.
If your little one has a very weak immune system, i.e., if he/she falls ill quickly and for longer periods, it might be either due to inherited conditions or external environmental / lifestyle factors in your baby’s everyday regime. Let us view in detail on what are the causes of weak immune system.
Causes for weak immune system
Primary Immunodeficiency disorder (PIDD): PIDD is a genetic inherited disorder that affects the immune system, and infants having PIDD cannot fight off infections easily. These children are also susceptible to infection from ordinarily harmless microorganisms. PIDD isn’t caused by environmental exposures, medications, trauma, diet or pregnancy complications, but due to a defective or mutated gene in the baby’s body.
Immature immune system: Did you know? One in every 100 bloodstream infections occur in infants. This is because the infant’s body doesn’t have enough maternal antibodies passed on from the mother, or their immune systems did not have as much time to mature before birth. If your baby is less than 2 months old and is developing a strong fever, visit the doctor right away!
Insufficient breastfeeding: Although your baby may sometimes be asleep past her feeding time, wake her up to feed. Breast Milk contains antibodies from the mother and helps build the child’s immune system. If there is not enough breastfeeding in a day, the baby’s immunity against susceptible infections grows slower.
Repeated infectious attacks: If your babycare supplies, or baby toys aren’t cleaned everyday, layers of infectious microbes settle on them. Since babies always drool or have a runny nose, these microbes enter the infant’s body and attack the developing immune system. Repeated attacks of these infections on the immune system makes it weaker and disrupts its development. Looking forward to seeing your naughty little one grow up into a healthy toddler? Ensure every babycare product/toy is cleanedbefore use or when placed near the child.
The most common type of infections in infants are stomach viruses such as Gastrointestinal viruses, Respiratory syncytial virus, and the flu virus. A weak immune system causes your child to become weaker, reduces his/her overall vigour and can lead to serious health issues after they turn adults.
PIDD is uncommon in India; the largest data reported a case of only 386 cases in the country.
In infants up to 3 months old, they should be fed every 2-3 hours, on or without demand.
Different types of white blood cells play a role in different microbial resistances: lymphocytes fight viruses, while neutrophils fight bacteria and fungi.
Stay tuned to learn more on how to build your baby’s immune system on our upcoming blog!