The goal of treatment is to prevent infections and treat any disease and infections that do develop.
If you have a weakened immune system, you should avoid contact with persons who have infections or contagious disorders. You may have to avoid people who have been vaccinated with live virus vaccines within the past 2 weeks.
If you develop an infection, your doctor will treat you aggressively. This may involve long-term use of antibiotic or antifungal medications and preventive (prophylactic) treatments.
Interferon is used to treat viral infections and some types of cancer. It is an immunostimulant drug, a medicine that makes the immune system work better.
Persons with HIV or AIDS may take combinations of drugs to reduce the amount of virus in their immune systems and improve their immunity.
Patients who are going to have a planned splenectomy should be vaccinated two weeks before the surgery against bacteria such as Streptococcus pneumonia and Hemophilus influenzae.
Bone marrow transplants may be used to treat certain immunodeficiency conditions.
Passive immunity (receiving antibodies produced by another person or animal) may occasionally be recommended to prevent illness after exposure to a microorganism.
Patients with hypogammaglobulinemia are treated with periodic immunoglobulin infusions through a vein to raise blood immunoglobulin levels toward the normal range and protect against many infections.
Some immunodeficiency disorders are mild and result in occasional illness. Others are severe and may be fatal. Immunosuppression that results from medications is often reversible once the medication is stopped.
Call your health care provider immediately if you are on chemotherapy or corticosteroids (such as prednisone, Medrol, or Decadron) and you develop a fever greater than 100.5 degrees Fahrenheit or have a cough with shortness of breath.
Go to the emergency room if you have a stiff neck and headache with the fever.
Contact your health care provider if you have repeated yeast infections or oral thrush.
Azar AE. Evaluation of the adult with suspected immunodeficiency. Am J Med. 2007;120:764-768.
Ballow M. Primary immunodeficiency diseases. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 271.
Morimoto Y. Immunodeficiency overview. Prim Care. 2008;35:159-173.
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