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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Neutropenia is a condition that causes you to have a low number of neutrophils in your blood. Neutrophils are a type of white blood cell made in the bone marrow. They help your body fight infection and bacteria.
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Medicines may be used to help control your neutropenia and infections. Ask your healthcare provider about these and other medicines you may be given:
- Growth factors stimulate your bone marrow to produce neutrophils.
- Antibiotics help treat or prevent an infection caused by bacteria.
- Antifungal medicine helps kill fungus that can cause illness.
- Corticosteroids help keep your immune system working properly if your neutropenia is caused by an autoimmune condition.
Healthcare providers may monitor your vital signs every 1 to 4 hours. Your healthcare providers will pay close attention to your temperature. Fever is a sign of infection.
Some tests may need to be repeated so healthcare providers will know if your treatment is working. Ask your healthcare provider about these and any other tests you may need:
- Blood tests will show the level of white blood cells in your body. This will tell healthcare providers if you have an infection and if your neutropenia is moderate or severe.
- Urine tests will show if you have an infection of your bladder or kidneys.
- A CT may show an infection or other problems causing your symptoms. You may be given contrast liquid to help your body area show up better in the pictures. Tell the healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast liquid.
- A bone marrow biopsy is when a sample of bone marrow is tested to see if it is producing neutrophils.
Your healthcare providers may need to stop giving you medicines that can cause neutropenia. They may change the foods you eat if nutrition problems caused your neutropenia. You may be placed in a single room until the cause of your neutropenia is found and neutrophil levels are higher. This keeps you protected from other people who may have infections. Your healthcare providers will instruct all visitors to wash their hands before and after visiting you. Ask your healthcare provider for more information about neutropenic precautions.
Neutropenia may cause infections in your skin, mouth, and anal area. It may cause a serious infection throughout your body, called sepsis. You may need to be hospitalized. If untreated, the infection may be life-threatening.
CARE AGREEMENT:You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.
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