The immune system is a system of many biological structures and processes within an organism. The proper function of the immune system protects us from bacterial, viral and fungal infections and cancer. In order to function properly, an immune system must detect a wide variety of agents, known as pathogens, from viruses to parasites, and distinguish them from the organism’s own healthy tissue. In contrast, the conditions in which the immune system operates with a decreased function lead to chronic diseases, viral or bacterial infection and so on.
Causes of a weakened immune system are:
- Stress, fatigue, exhaustion
- Long-term chronic diseases (allergy, asthma, diabetes,…)
- Viral infections (colds, flu, herpes, HPV, mononucleosis)
- Frequent onset of a bacterial infection and a long-term use of antibiotics
Children have an average of 6 – 10 viral infections per year. The common cold is caused by more than 200 different types of viruses, and a more frequent occurence is observed in the winter months. Children are particularly vulnerable in the winter because most of their activity takes place indoors and are often in contact with children who already have a cold.
The first symptoms of colds in children are sore throat and a blocked or runny nose. Other symptoms are fever, decreased appetite, irritability, insomnia.
WHEN TO ACT?
– When a child goes to kindergarten or school
– At the time of the increased occurrence of infections and viruses
– When the first member of the family gets sick