Most children are sick multiple times a year and as discussed in Nov. 15th's blog post "Constantly Sick: Is It A String Of Colds Or An Immunodeficiency?" this is not cause for concern. Although immunodeficiencies are rare, 1 in 500 children will have one so all parents should be familiar with the warning signs. Of course, one would hope that your child's pediatrician would recognize these warning signs early on, however, it is often not that simple. Although a child may see the same doctor throughout the year for his check-ups, it is not uncommon for him to see a different doctor when he is sick. Therefore, it is possible that these early warning signs could be missed if your pediatrician is not made aware of these additional visits and illnesses.
You don't need to tell your pediatrician about every cold, or mild viral illness your child has had since your last visit. But you should make him aware of any of the following warning signs.
10 Warning Signs of Primary Immunodeficiency
1. 4 or more new ear infections within 1 year.
2. 2 or more serious sinus infections within 1 year.
3. 2 or more months on antibiotics with little effect.
4. 2 or more pneumonias within 1 year.
5. Failure of an infant to gain weight or grow normally.
6. Recurrent, deep skin or organ infections.
7. Persistent thrush in mouth or fungal infection on skin.
8. Need for intravenous antibiotics to clear infections.
9. 2 or more deep-seated infections including septicemia.
(Septicemia is a bacterial infection of the blood).
10. A family history of Primary Immunodeficiency.
If your child has two or more of the above warning signs, you should bring this to the attention of your pediatrician. The presence of these warning signs does not conclusively determine that a child has an immunodeficiency but they suggest that further studies may be warranted.