What Is the Immune System?
The immune system in infants plays an essential role in child growth and development because it helps to fight against foreign invaders such as bacteria, viruses, and various microbes. When these foreign bodies, like bacteria, viruses, and other germs, invade the infant's body, the immune system acts very quickly and starts fighting against these foreign bodies and thus protecting the infants from infections. The immune system works throughout our lives and protects against infections. However, if the immune system is weak, they are sometimes prone to various conditions, which may be life-threatening.
In newborns, the antibodies are produced by the mother, pass to the newborn and act against the invaders. This immunity is called passive immunity. Passive immunity is short-term immunity which is otherwise called natural immunity. The newborns have deficient immunity at the time of birth, so they cannot handle a few infections. The newborns are recommended for various vaccinations that protect against diseases. Their immunity keeps improving as they grow, and their fighting power also enhances.
How Does the Immune System Act Against Foreign Invaders?
The immune system is a collection of various proteins and cells which collaborate and protect infants from multiple infections. For example, when a foreign body attacks the infant, the white blood cells recognize the foreign bodies and start producing the unique proteins called antibodies; these antibodies fight against the foreign bodies. This response is called the immune response.
Once these antibodies are formed, they will recognize the invaders next time very easily. This ability to memorize foreign bodies is called immunity. Preterm babies have low immunity, and babies are more prone to various infections. Therefore, it is always essential to be cautious while handling preterm babies.
How to Boost the Immune System in Children?
The immunity in the newborn is passed from mother to child and will be there for a few weeks to a few months. After that, the immune system starts working whenever the baby gets attacked by the virus. They make new antibodies that protect children from present and future infections. But babies' immunity is not as strong as in adults. Meanwhile, one can do the following things to protect oneself from diseases.
Breast Feeding: Human breast milk is a vital source in children that develops immunity and fights against infections. It has various vitamins and minerals, along with antibodies and probiotics. These antibodies are passed from the mother to the child through breast milk because the baby and the mother often come in contact with the same germs. Breastfeeds are less prone to infection when compared to babies with formula milk. But mothers who can not breastfeed their children can opt for infant formula milk, a healthy option. But in some cases, like polio (disabling and life-threatening disease caused by a virus), measles (a contagious infection caused by a virus), and chickenpox (a contagious viral infection causing blisters on the skin), breast milk will not help. So to protect from dangerous complications, the children are recommended to be vaccinated.
Vaccination: Vaccination is the safest way to develop immunity in children. It is also the most effective way to build immunity in children. Vaccination creates an immune response like antibodies, but it generates an immune response without causing any sickness in the children. For example, mothers can be vaccinated for whooping cough (infection of the respiratory system) and flu (common viral infection) virus in the third trimester of pregnancy, when the antibodies are passed to the child. Thus the child can be protected from pertussis or whooping cough and flu infections. A baby's first vaccine is given immediately after birth, after six weeks, then after four months and six months. It is always better to follow the vaccination schedule. If there are any doubts regarding when to vaccinate a kid or what vaccination has to be given, immediately consult the pediatrician for further information.
Diet and Supplements: While breastfeeding and formula feeding are the only options for infants and children who have started with solids, fresh vegetables and fruits are a source of vitamins and minerals, which helps improve immunity. External supplements can also be given, but antibiotics harm healthy gut bacteria.
Is an Infants Immune System Well Developed?
Mothers' antibodies help to fight infection in children, but the actual immunity in children starts developing from two to three months old. But many parents may be confused about whether the baby's immunity is created or not. If there is any doubt or the child shows any of the following symptoms, consult the doctor immediately. The signs that show low immunity are:
What Are the Factors That Impact Immunity in Babies?
The factors that influence immunity in babies are:
The age of the child.
Health status of the child.
All vaccinations given.
Diet and supplements are taken.
Breastfeeding may also play a vital role in immunity.
What Are the Types of Immune Disorders That Affect Children?
The various immune disorders that affect children are:
Addison’s disease (a disorder that affects the adrenal glands).
Autoimmune hepatitis (when the immune system attacks the liver).
Crohn’s disease (a gastrointestinal disorder that affects the digestive tract).
Multiple sclerosis affects children’s nervous systems.
Immunity in children plays an essential role in their growth and development. A healthy immune system helps infants to fight against disease-causing germs, like bacteria, viruses, parasites, and cancer cells. Newborn babies with deficient immunity are more prone to infections. In newborns, it is passed from mother to baby through breast milk. However, the exemption will not protect them from a life-threatening condition, so the children are recommended to be vaccinated, which protects them from various diseases. Generally, immunity develops after three months of birth, so it is vital to be careful in the first few months.