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Immune Deficiency Disorders: Associated Conditions

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This information was reviewed and approved by Ann Mullen, RN, CNS, AE-C, CDE, TTS (10/1/2018).

Sometimes patients with an immune deficiency will develop an autoimmune disease. These are a group of diseases where the immune system attacks parts of the body. 

Your doctor can monitor for this with blood tests and by reviewing your symptoms.

Because immune deficiency disorders weaken the body's ability to fight off other illnesses, people with an immune deficiency disorder become more susceptible to virtually any other disease compared to a person with a fully functioning immune system. Consequently, people with an immune deficiency disorder must take extra care to avoid contracting other illnesses, since it is harder for them to fight off those illnesses than others with a healthy immune system.


Preventing Infections

There are things you can do to prevent infection. They include:

  • Stay away from people who have a cold or other infection.

  • Wash your hands with soap before eating, after outings and after using the bathroom.

  • Although hand-washing seems simple, make sure it is effective. Use liquid soap and scrub your hands using plenty of lather for 10-15 seconds. Rinse your hands and dry them completely.

  • If a sink is not available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer over the entire surface of your hands until dry.

  • Clean cuts and scrapes right away with warm, soapy water. Apply antibacterial cream or ointment and cover the cut or scrape with a fresh bandage at least daily. Tell your doctor if any redness or drainage develops.

  • Brush your teeth after meals, and floss at least daily. Have a dental exam every six months. Tooth decay and gum disease are types of infection.

  • There are vaccines available for some common viruses (like the flu) and bacteria (like certain types of pneumonia) that you may want to consider. Getting vaccinated may lessen the severity of symptoms or prevent these infections altogether. Talk to your doctor about whether you should get a flu, pneumonia or other vaccine.


If you notice any of the following, you may have an infection:

  • Fever

  • Chills

  • Nasal congestion or discharge

  • Cough

  • Diarrhea

  • Vomiting

  • Tenderness or pain

  • Unusual discharge

  • Swelling or redness on the skin

If you suspect you have an infection of any kind, call your doctor right away.

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