Immune System Impairments

Babies with Down syndrome may have a deficiency of certain immoglobulins, especially IgG. They also have a higher risk of cell-mediated immune disorders. For some unknown reasons, the white blood cells in youngsters with Down syndrome often fail to travel as quickly as they should to the site of infections. This impairs the body’s normal immune response to bacteria. For this reason, professional guidelines for the treatment of common infections may be different for children with Down syndrome than for other children. Pediatricians may prescribe antibiotics sooner, and in less obvious scenarios, than they do for children with normal immune system function.

Children with Down syndrome are also at increased risk for autoimmune disorders, including hypothyroidism and diabetes mellitus, as well as allergies. Nurses who are well educated in the signs and symptoms of these disorders can play a key role in early detection.

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Children with Down syndrome often receive antibiotics when other children would not.