Leukocytosis in children: symptoms and treatment

Leukocytosis in children is not a disease, but a pathological symptom, manifested by an increase in the number of white blood cells that are a component of the immune system. Normally, the number of white blood cells in a child can vary even during the day — depending on what he ate or how active his game was. But nevertheless, the number of white blood cells remains strictly limited and these frames are different for children of different ages.

The number of leukocytes from 10 to 25×10 9 / l is considered to be the norm for the baby, which is due to the lack of formation of the immune system. In children aged 1 to 3 years, the norm will be somewhat lower — about 9-15×10 9 / l. In older children, the level of leukocytes is normal in the range from 6 to 11×10 9 / l. Of course, these data are approximate, since the level of white blood cells depends on many factors, including the physiological characteristics of the child’s body.

A strong excess of these norms is evidence that the child has developed leukocytosis, which requires urgent diagnosis to identify the cause of this phenomenon and its elimination, otherwise without treatment, leukocytosis can cause severe complications.


Increasing the level of white blood cells in a child’s blood has its own causes, which differ somewhat from the causes of leukocytosis in adults. The causes can be both physiological and pathological.

Physiological causes — these are those that are associated with the developmental features and life of the child. In particular, the level of leukocytes can increase with physical exertion, overheating in the sun or after taking a warm bath. With a sharp change in temperature, leukocyte leap may also occur. Such conditions do not require correction, since the level of white blood cells is normalized in the shortest period independently.

You can also consider physiological leukocytosis in newborns, which is associated, as already mentioned above, with the immaturity of the immune system. It is considered the norm if newborns have leukocyte leaps, and in a fairly wide range. Especially if such jumps occur after the breastfeeding of the baby is supplemented with lure — during this period, there is a decrease in immunity, laid with the milk of the mother, and the formation of their own immune system, which for some time will «tune.»

Of course, newborns can have a pathological leukocytosis associated with various inflammatory or other diseases. Therefore, parents should closely monitor the state of the child, and in case of any other signs that indicate a pathology, seek medical advice.

In particular, leukocytosis is noted in newborns if they have such pathologies as:

  • bronchitis and pneumonia
  • birth injuries;
  • kidney failure
  • diseases of bacterial, viral or fungal nature
  • internal bleeding;
  • intoxication, meningitis or even malignant growths.

There are certain risk factors that can trigger a newborn pathological increase in the level of white blood cells. These factors include severe pregnancy, the presence of a woman with HIV infection, streptococcal infection or urogenital diseases. Children with congenital anomalies of the endocrine system, premature babies and those born from severe labor are also at risk.

In a baby, an increase in the level of leukocytes can occur if he lives in a radiation-poor terrain. In addition, an important predisposing factor is the genetic abnormalities of fetal development that cause pathologies such as Down’s syndrome and others.

As for older children, they can also have the following reasons for this pathological condition:

  1. allergic reactions (in infants is allergic to complementary feeding, in older children — for food, medicines, household chemicals, fluff, flowers, etc.)
  2. foci of chronic infection in the body
  3. acute infectious diseases — from ARVI and influenza to infectious mononucleosis, HIV infection and many other diseases
  4. traumatic damage to the skin and mucous membranes, as well as burns;
  5. Oncological diseases — mainly we are talking about blood diseases, such as leukemia and leukemia.


Often, any symptoms of a violation of the composition of the blood is not manifested, so the only way for parents to make sure that their baby is healthy is a regular physical examination with the delivery of a general blood test. But sometimes some children may have some symptoms that may indicate that they have elevated levels of white blood cells. These are the signs of a violation, like:

  • frequent fever to subfebrile performance
  • loss of appetite and weight loss
  • fatigue;
  • Sweating
  • Sleep disorder
  • impaired vision and pain in articular joints


The diagnosis is based on a blood test. But in order to prescribe a treatment, a doctor should conduct a full examination of a baby or an older child — this is the only way to establish the cause of the violation of the blood cell balance.

Accordingly, treatment with leukocytosis requires a disease that causes a disorder, and antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs, antiviral drugs, antihistamines can be used for this purpose. Chemotherapeutic agents may even be required if the oncological process is the cause of the development of a disorder in the cellular composition of the blood.