When we hear the word immunity, we represent a kind of protective sphere around us. In fact, immunity is a collective image, representing the coordinated work of many systems, organs, tissues and even cells of our body. Not the last role in this team belongs to the blood, which includes a whole legion of special-purpose cells, selflessly attacking any enemy from the camp of microorganisms hostile to us. The name of these vigilant guards is lymphocytes.
Their concentration, like other blood elements, may increase or decrease in comparison with the normal state for certain reasons. Elevated lymphocytes in the blood of a child - what does this indicate and how should parents react?
The role of lymphocytes in the body's immune system
These cells are a type of white blood cell. Externally, the lymphocytes look like balls of a little more than their red relatives - red blood cells. They are synthesized in the lymphatic system and the liver.
The concentration of lymphocytes in one liter of human blood is estimated in terms of absolute and relative indicators. The absolute indicator displays their quantitative composition. The value of the relative indicator - the percentage of lymphocytes from the total number of leukocytes.
A few days after the synthesis, in various glands of the body, as in training centers, the lymphocytes are endowed with certain functions and distributed into combat units:
- B-lymphocytes are responsible for the production of antibodies to foreign microorganisms. We owe this unit the opportunity to vaccinate and acquire sustained immunity to various diseases.
- Group T lymphocytes kill outsiders and ensure that their own healthy cells are not damaged in the heat of the moment.
- NK-lymphocytes are engaged in cleaning up the cells of their own organism, which have undergone mutations, affected by viruses, and cancer cells. The abbreviation NK in translation means a natural killer.
Lymphocytes in the blood are elevated in a child: causes
As already noted, the quantitative evaluation of these combat cells is carried out by absolute and relative values. The same principle distinguishes lymphocytosis of a relative or absolute nature.
Why are elevated lymphocytes in the blood of a child? The reasons for this phenomenon may be:
- the body’s immune response to viral invasion;
- measles, chickenpox, mononucleosis, whooping cough, mumps;
- the presence of diseases of a bacterial nature, for example, tuberculosis;
- severe chemical intoxication with lead, arsenic or tetrachloroethane;
- side effect of taking certain medications, for example, immunostimulants;
- the presence of a tumor of oncological nature;
- chronic lymphocytic leukemia;
- diseases of an autoimmune type when healthy own cells are attacked.
Blood test and normal values
In order to speak about comparative analysis and deviations, it is necessary to know what value is the norm of the concentration of lymphocytes. In children, these figures depend on age.
Age category, years
Absolute value × 109/ l
up to a year
The increased concentration of lymphocytes in absolute terms, which is determined by clinical blood analysis, can be considered with the following values:
- for children of younger age category - ＞ 9.0 × 109/ l;
- in older children - ＞ 8.0 × 109/ l;
- for adults - ＞ 4.0 × 109/ l.
The concentration of specific types of lymphocytes can be clarified during additional studies. This will provide an opportunity to assess the level of activity of the immune response to an infectious attack and determine what causes the lymphocytes to rise. A moderate increase in concentration may indicate a fracture during the course of the disease and an initial stage of recovery.
What to do if you deviate from the norm?
As deviations from the norm of any blood cell are not an independent disease, so in the case of lymphocytosis, the reason for the increase in the white blood cell level should be treated. Usually, when the primary disease is cured, the concentration of lymphocytes normalizes. As a therapeutic effect on the cause of lymphocytosis, anti-inflammatory drugs, antibiotics, antiviral drugs are used.
Thus it is necessary to take into account such factors:
- The presence of lymphocytosis in the clinical blood test, confirmed by repeated testing, is a reason to visit the hematologist;
- To establish the true factors that led to an increase in lymphocytes, additional examinations will be needed to assess the state of the immune system, the red bone marrow or to identify the infectious agent
- if lymphocytosis occurs on the background of enlarged lymph nodes, liver, spleen, then it is necessary to conduct a survey of these organs to assess their condition;
- There may also be a need for ultrasound, chest X-ray, tomography, and histology of bone marrow puncture.
For the treatment of lymphocytosis in childhood, it is possible to use sulfonamide group drugs or hormonal agents ACTH. To avoid serious complications, therapy should be carried out in a timely manner. In severe cases, a complex symptomatic treatment is carried out with the use of vitamins, diet, placement in a hospital. In the case of the accession of a secondary infection, the use of antibiotics is mandatory.
As such, prevention of lymphocytosis is not, therefore, resort to general measures in the form of isolation of the patient and monitoring of the persons who came into contact with him. The treatment is carried out under constant medical supervision and with a periodic study of the dynamics of changes in the composition of the blood.