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Immune globulin

What is immune globulin?

The immune system helps protect the body from germs. In part, fighting infections depends on the body's ability to make immunoglobulins (antibodies). When the immune system cannot produce enough antibodies, immune globulin may be needed to help boost the immune system. It is given into the vein (IV) or just under the skin (sub-Q).

Immune globulin is made from blood plasma (the liquid part of the blood). It requires hundreds of donors to make one dose, so donating for your child is not possible. When it is made, many steps are taken to remove any harmful viruses.

One IV dose protects your child for 3 to 4 weeks. How often your child needs it depends on his or her condition. One sub-Q dose protects your child for about 1 week.

What happens during the infusion?

Anesthetic cream such as EMLA® or ELA-Max® may be used to ease the discomfort of the needle. (See the education sheet "Anesthetic cream.")

Nurses will monitor your child closely. Sometimes a reaction (fever, headache, or body aches, rash, hives, trouble breathing) can occur during the infusion. Usually slowing the infusion rate makes it go away. Sometimes medicines are given before or during the infusion to prevent or lessen reactions. Severe reactions are rare.

How should I care for my child after the infusion?

Side effects such as mild flu-like symptoms, headache, nausea (upset stomach), and vomiting (throwing up) are possible for a few days after an infusion. Medicines can be given for these. If your child has any body aches or fever, give acetaminophen or ibuprofen as directed.

No change is needed in your child's diet or activity after receiving immune globulin. However, good nutrition and rest are always important for children with immune problems. Eating proteins such as meat or chicken and foods high in zinc are especially helpful to the immune system.

Try to avoid others who have respiratory infections (colds), stomach flu, or other infections.

Make an appointment to see your child's doctor as directed. If needed, call the clinic to schedule any future infusions.

When should I call the clinic?

  • leg aches, backaches, muscle spasms
  • headache
  • nausea, vomiting
  • rash
  • small blood blisters
  • flushing (red, warm face)
  • fever or chills
  • very tired
  • dizziness
  • wheezing
  • trouble breathing – call 911

What else do I need to know?

Be sure to keep up your child's immunizations, including a yearly influenza vaccine. Tell the primary doctor or nurse practitioner your child received immune globulin. It will affect live vaccines.

Questions?

This is not specific to your child, but provides general information. If you have any questions, please call the clinic. For more information about immune globulin, refer to the Immune Deficiency Foundation Patient and Family Handbook at www.primaryimmune.org.

 

Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota
Last reviewed 8/2015 

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This page is not specific to your child, but provides general information on the topic above. If you have any questions, please call your clinic. For more reading material about this and other health topics, please call or visit Children's Family Resource Center library, or visit www.childrensmn.org/educationmaterials.

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