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Immunity boosters can be double-edged sword

By Dr. Chandrika Bhat
Bengaluru | Written by: BNN Team | Updated: 31-01-2021 | Views: 155
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Ever since outbreak of Covid, there is a demand for 'immunity boosters' to fight Covid. However, many are forgetting that excess intake or unscientific intake of immunity boosters can actually harm your body than providing 'immunity'.

Dr. Chandrika Bhat (Consultant- Pediatric Rheumatology), Rainbow Children's Hospital, Marathahalli said that there has been an increase in the awareness and importance given to the immune system following the outbreak of corona virus. "For the last 15 to 20 years, there has been evidence to suggest that excessive immunity can in fact be harmful. This means that a dysfunctional or an overdrive of the immune system can result in damage as well. For instance, what is the reason that only a small percentage of people with common infections like flu become critically ill and most of the people recover smoothly. Why is it that only a fraction of people with covid had more severe illness? Why is it that only a few people develop conditions such as arthritis? These are all examples of how our own immune system can damage the body,"she said. 

Dr Bhat said that one might be surprised to know that these conditions can affect children of any age as well. More so, until the age of approximately 5 years the immune system in children is inexperienced. Consider the immune system similar to a battalion that consists of army men and their weapons. Under normal circumstances their role is to protect their country from foreign invasion. Now imagine a situation what can happen if they become overactive and start attacking not only their enemy people but also their own countrymen. There will be a lot of inadvertent deaths. Similarly, if our immune system starts attacking our own body different organs can be damaged. Depending upon the organ involved these conditions are named accordingly. If the joints are affected it is called arthritis, if the eyes are involved it is called uveitis and so on. It is important to understand that the problem is not with these organs but the immune system. In children symptoms such as prolonged fever, rashes, joint pain with swelling, muscle pain, redness of eyes and lips, excessive tiredness, oral ulcers, weight loss or disturbances in growth should alert parents regarding the possibility of a rheumatological illness. Pediatric rheumatologists are doctors who manage such children and it is important to identify and treat these disorders in time.

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