Recurrent Infections

Recurring infections are a common problem and can greatly affect work, school and quality of life. People frequently experience recurring ear infections, sinus infections, bronchitis and/or pneumonia.

An allergist/immunologist is the most appropriate specialist to evaluate and treat both children and adults with these recurring infections.

Causes

Environmental conditions (daycare, school) – An infant or toddler at home may get 5-6 upper respiratory infections a year. The same child in daycare may get 10-12 a year. Over time, the immune system builds up and infections become less frequent.

Allergies (allergic rhinitis) – Allergic inflammation in the nose often blocks the sinuses and Eustachian tubes, resulting in frequent sinus and ear infections.

Immune deficiencies – The body’s immune system may not have all the usual “weapons” to fight off infections, thus making one susceptible to frequent infections. There are a number of deficiencies, some mild and others severe, which can lead to recurring infections.

Structural abnormalities (nasal polyps, enlarged adenoids) – A structural abnormality can lead to recurring infections in one particular area, such as a nasal polyp which blocks the opening to one of the sinuses and leads to frequent infections of that sinus.

Symptoms

The type and timing of the cough can help identify the cause, and symptoms such as “allergies”, throat-clearing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and heartburn can help point to one of the common illnesses associated with cough.

Diagnosis

Allergy Skin Testing – After an appropriate history, your doctor will determine what allergy tests are appropriate. Blood tests to evaluate the immune system, sometimes before and after an immunizationn. X-rays or CT scans.

Treatment

  • Allergy Treatment – If allergies are diagnosed, your allergist will develop a treatment plan with you that could include environmental control measures, medications, and/or immunotherapy (allergy shots or drops).
  • Antibiotics – It is important to treat infections thoroughly when they occur, but sometimes antibiotics can be used prophylactically to prevent infections.
  • Hygiene – Proper hygiene is always appropriate to help minimize the risk of getting infections.
  • Immunizations – Your allergist will be sure you are receiving the appropriate immunizations to prevent infections.
  • Antibody replacement therapy – If you are found to have low levels of antibodies, you may need to receive infusions of replacement antibodies to normalize your immune system.


How We Can Help

One of the key components of your Allergy Partners’ physician’s specialty training is in the evaluation and treatment of recurring infections. We will not only determine the cause of your recurring infections, but will work with you to determine the most suitable treatment plan that will give you the best outcome for your health.


 
     
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