Primary Immunodeficiency

    • Brief

    • Primary immunodeficiencies are illnesses that weaken your body’s natural defenses (the immune system), making it easy for you to get an infection. These problems are usually present at birth, with different severity. For example, children may easily catch colds, ear infections, skin infections, and other lung infections when they have this illness. In adults, easily getting an infection or recurring infections may prompt your healthcare provider to investigate the condition.

      Proper self-care, prevention, vaccination and treatment are important in ensuring that people with primary immunodeficiencies can live normal lives.

    • What are the symptoms?

    • The symptoms of primary immunodeficiencies vary depending on the part of the immune system that is affected. Problems in the genes that help our body produce immune cells cause this disorder.

      Some common symptoms include:

      • You may experience frequent episodes of infections such as pneumonia or ear infections.
      • Your body parts may not grow at the same rate as with others your age.
      • You may feel like vomiting and vomit or pass loose stools frequently.
      • You may experience joint pains and stiffness or skin rashes.
      • You may feel tired after doing very mild work or bruise easily or have bleeding episodes from the nose or gums.
    • What are the causes?

    • Primary immunodeficiencies are caused by genes and are inherited. Immune system disorders seen include B-cell deficiency, T-cell deficiencies, a combination of B and T cell deficiencies, and several others.

    • What are the things that put you at risk?

    • Primary immunodeficiencies are usually passed down from parents to children. A history of someone in your family with the condition means that you are at risk of it too.

    • When to visit a doctor?

    • Visit your healthcare provider:

      • If you have frequent or recurrent infections that do not go away after receiving treatment. Or if you have infections that are difficult to treat.
      • If you notice that your child is not growing as well as it should for its age.
      • If you often have joint pains or swelling or a skin rash that keeps reoccurring.
    • How to prevent?

    • You cannot prevent immune deficiencies, but you can reduce the severity of the deficiencies through self-care, vaccinations, avoiding infections, and following your healthcare provider's recommendations.

    • How to manage and treat?

    • Self-Care Tips

      • Practice good hygiene by washing your hands often, especially after using the toilet, after returning from work and before eating a meal.
      • Avoid exposure and minimise contact with people who have infections such as a cold, and avoid crowded places.
      • Manage stress and stay away from stressful physical activities.
      • Keep your home and work environment clean and control insects, rodents and other pests.

      Medical Treatment

      • The treatment of primary immunodeficiencies is mainly based on treating current infections.
      • Your healthcare provider may prescribe antibacterial or antiviral medications to take care of an infection.
      • They may also recommend vaccines that are essential for you. These help you prevent diseases that may threaten your health.
      • Treatments to boost the immune system can be effective, but are out of reach for most people living in Nigeria.

    • Kulawa cares

    • Early diagnosis of primary immunodeficiencies can help you prevent or delay some of the health problems or complications that may arise. With proper diagnosis, self-care and treatment, you can manage your condition appropriately. This will reduce how frequently you come down with infections. Most people with this disease can live an active life with the proper support.

      If you have been diagnosed with this condition, you should get counselling when you decide to have a child or start a family.