Are you worried about your Neutropenia (Low Neutrophil Count)?
If you have a low white blood cell count you may experience frequent infections or illnesses due to a weakened immune system, some of these may be severe or prolonged, making you susceptible to infections caused by the natural bacteria that live inside your mouth or digestive tract. You will likely feel very lethargic and run down, often experiencing mouth ulcers and sore throats, toothache, skin rashes, chills, or shivering. Neutropenia is sometimes confused with Leukopenia, a similar condition that also measures low levels of white blood cells but there are some subtle differences in symptoms that may warrant a different approach to your treatment options. For example, while both conditions may induce a fever, if you have neutropenia the fever will be more intense. Common causes of low white blood cell count include cancer or chemotherapy, a treatment for cancer, serious infections like hepatitis or HIV, some autoimmune conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and it can even be cause by a side effect of medications such as thyroid medications or antipsychotic medications, prescribed for severe mental health problems.
If you are diagnosed with a low white blood cell count, whether a result of illness of a side effect of a medication that you have been prescribed by your doctor, there are steps that you can take at home to help protect yourself from further infections. The advice listed below may help to keep you safe.
- Try to avoid close contact with others especially if they are showing signs of illness
- Take extra care to prepare food thoroughly and be mindful of best before dates to help avoid the possibility of food poisoning
- Wash your hands regularly and use anti-bacterial gel. Make sure to avoid touching your face to avoid spreading any bacteria
- If you need to shave take extra care to avoid nicks as the wound this creates could be a source of infection
- It is important that you avoid sharing food, utensils, toothbrushes or even make-up
- Avoid raw foods like eggs that could harbour salmonella
- Do not handle animal excrement or change baby’s nappies
- Avoid hot tubs or wild swimming
If you are diagnosed with neutropenia following blood tests then you may need further testing to establish the cause, this could include bone marrow testing, the extraction of a sample of bone marrow for testing, image testing, or further blood tests to ascertain the condition of your liver and kidneys. Treatments for neutropenia will depend on the underlying cause and the symptoms you are experiencing and will vary heavily, possibly including prescribed antibiotics to help fight off infection, medicines to quell fevers, or IV fluid to rehydrate your body following infection. If you are suffering from a low white blood cell count then it may be difficult for you to prevent infection, if infection does occur or you are experiencing regular occurrences of infections that are affecting your ability to live a healthy normal life it is recommended that you make an appointment with your doctor.
Here at VIDA we have expert clinicians on hand to help diagnose and treat your condition. To find out more about these services, we recommend visiting the following pages:
- Aplastic anemia
- Autoimmune Disease
- Bone Marrow Disorders
- Granulomatosis with polyangiitis
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
- Hepatitis C
- Myelodysplastic syndromes
- Salmonella infection