Neutropenia in children is a condition where there is decrease in the number of neutrophilic leukocytes in the blood. You can get all the information on causes of neutropenia in children in the following article.
Neutropenia in children is a condition that develops when there is decrease in the number of white blood cells in the body. The white blood cells play an important role in defending your kids from infection. A child’s body is bombarded with various infectious agents like pathogenic bacteria, viruses, and other foreign bodies that lead to an infection. There are many types of white blood cells of which neutrophil one of them. These cells help in destroying the harmful bacteria that infect your child. However, if the number of neutrophilic leukocytes are less than normal, it makes the children prone to infection.
There are quite a few causes of neutropenia in children. Some of these causes are genetic and few have no apparent reason. These causes include the most common cause of temporary decrease in normal white blood cell count. The other common cause is increase in number of cells that are destroyed by a viral infection. After a child infected by a viral infection, the number of white blood cells decrease drastically. This low white blood cell count takes a few months to come back to normal.
This form of mild neutropenia in children is not a very serious health concern. Other causes include:
- Autoimmune diseases that attack blood cells of the body
- Children who are undergoing chemotherapy
- Children with vitamin B12 deficiency may not be able make enough blood cells
- Children with bone marrow disorders like aplastic anemia can get neutropenia
- Infections like tuberculosis (TB) may cause decrease in blood cell count
Chronic neutropenia is the condition when the child has low white blood cell count for more than 3 months. Chronic neutropenia is divided into four types; congenital, cyclical, idiopathic and autoimmune neutropenia.
This type of neutropenia is occurs by birth. This is a very rare condition and can be treatable. However, the more severe forms of congenital neutropenia become a recurrent condition called the Kostmann’s syndrome.
This also a rare type of blood disorder wherein the child suffers from low count of neutrophil every 3 weeks. This condition lasts for about 3 to 6 days and after than the number of white blood cells become normal. But, during the 3 to 6 days of low white blood cell count, the child is at risk of developing bacterial infections.
This type of neutropenia occurs when the child falls sick all the time or is sick for long periods. There are no other related causes that lead to idiopathic neutropenia.
Autoimmune neutropenia is a condition that is very commonly seen in infants and young children. In this condition, the immune system starts attacking body’s own cells and destroying the neutrophil. Some children the condition can get better after about 2 years of treatment.
Neutropenia in children will cause them to fall prey to number of infections. These children have poor immunity that makes them vulnerable to mouth infections, throat infections, sinuses, respiratory infections and even skin infections. Other neutropenia symptoms include sore throat, nasal congestion, diarrhea, burning sensation during urination, chills, fever and unusual redness, swelling in case of injury. In severe cases, the child may have to be hospitalized. Recurrent infections is the only sign. Some children may also develop pneumonia, muscle aches, shortness of breath and gums that bleed.
Mild neutropenia in children does not require any specific treatment. The treatment usually depends upon the severity and cause of the condition. The doctor may work on treating the underlying cause of infection to build up resistance in the child. Most of the time, a child’s body is trying to fight off a viral infections that leads to neutropenia. Some doctors may administer neutrophil growth factor injections in case the condition is very severe.
In case of chronic neutropenia, the doctor will advice your regarding the treatment depending on the type of neutropenia. Make sure you get your child checked by a pediatrician, if the child is frequently falling sick due to infections.