Blood

Neutropenia in Children

The medical term used for the condition of decreased number of white blood cells in the body is Neutropenia and this condition is mostly seen in children. White blood cells defend the body from various diseases and infections. Several infectious agents like foreign bodies, viruses and pathogenic bacteria can lead to infections in children. The harmful bacteria present in the body are destroyed by the neutrophils which are a type of white blood cells. Neutropenia in children usually occurs when the number of neutorphilic leukocytes are in decreased numbers.

Causes

This condition can be caused due to the decrease in the count of white blood cells and genetics. Viral infection is also another reason for causing this condition. However, this condition is not considered to be serious most of the time. The following are a few more causes of this condition in children.

  • Infections like Tuberculosis
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Aplastic anemia which is a bone marrow disorder
  • Chemotherapy and
  • Deficiency of vitamin B12

Other Causes

Neutropenia in children can also be caused due to other causes like:

  • Inadequate production of blood cells in the bone marrow can cause this condition due to several blood disorders.
  • Leukemia which is a cancer caused due to low white blood cells and aplastic anemia can be responsible for causing this condition.
  • Therapies like radiation and chemotherapy destroy the white blood cells further resulting in this condition.
  • Bacterial and viral infections like mononucleosis can also result in causing this condition.

Symptoms

Children suffering from this condition often experience different kinds of infections in stomach and urinary tract. The following are a few more common symptoms seen in children due to neutropenia.

  • Sinuses
  • Throat infections
  • Mouth infections
  • Skin Infections
  • Respiratory infections
  • Nasal congestion
  • Sore throat
  • Chills
  • Burning sensation while urinating
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Diarrhea
  • Pneumonia
  • Bleeding gums
  • Shortness of breath
  • Muscle aches and
  • Sore throat

Types of Chronic Neutropenia in Children

Children may experience acute and chronic types of this condition and the following are a few types of chronic neutropenia that are commonly seen in children.

Chronic Neutropenia :

This is usually seen in children when the condition of low white blood cell count is seen for more than 3 months continuously. This condition is in turn divided into four major types and they are as follows.

Congenital Neutropenia :

This condition in children usually occurs by birth and it can be treated. The severe form of congenital neutropenia can lead to the condition of Kostmann’s syndrome.

Cyclic Neutropenia :

This is considered as a very rare type of blood disorder. Children suffering from this condition may experience low neutrophil count for every 3 weeks. This may last for about three to six days causing the child to suffer from bacterial infections as well.

Idiopathic Neutropeni :

This usually occurs when a child falls sick for a longer period of time due to the presence of low white blood cells. There are no particular causes that can lead to the condition of idiopathic neutropenia.

Autoimmune Neutropenia :

This is often seen in young children and infants and is caused when the immune system of the child attacks its own blood cells destroying the neutrophils completely. This condition can be treated after taking a treatment for at least two months continuously.

Treatment

  • The condition of mild neutropenia may not require any kind of specific treatment.
  • The treatment for this usually depends on the severity of the condition.
  • The immune system and resistance of the child can be improved by certain treatments and medications.
  • Antibiotics are given in order to fight the infections caused due to fever during this condition.
  • Avoid taking excessive antibiotics as they can develop drug-resistant bacteria.
  • This drug-resistant bacteria can in turn lead to inflammation of the intestines and enterocolitis or diarrhea. They may sometimes damage the functioning of the liver and kidneys.
  • Consult a doctor immediately if the child is suffering frequent infections and sickness.

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