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What is Neutropaenia?

Neutrophils are a type of white blood cell. White blood cells protect us from infections. Neutrophils are the “first responders” in the presence of infective pathogens and quickly appear at the site of the infection. These cells ingest and destroy foreign particles. A normal count of neutrophils also called the absolute neutrophil count, ranges from 2.5 to 6. A neutrophil count of less than 1 is called neutropaenia. Neutropaenia is common in patients who are receiving and undergoing chemotherapy and can increase your risk of infection.
.

How does chemotherapy increase the risk of Neutropaenia?

Chemotherapy drugs work by destroying the fast-growing cells, which include both cancer cells and healthy cells. The destruction of healthy white blood cells results in neutropaenia.
.

How will I know if I have Neutropaenia?

Neutropaenia is common in patients receiving chemotherapy. Our doctor will test your blood at regular intervals during cancer treatment to test for neutropaenia.
.

When is the risk of developing Neutropaenia the highest?

Neutropaenia usually occurs around 7 to 12 days after chemotherapy. This period may differ depending on your type of chemotherapy drug. It is crucial to watch for signs of infection during this period.
.

How can Neutropaenia be prevented?

It is difficult to prevent neutropaenia. However, during chemotherapy you may receive growth factor injections to stimulate the production of neutrophils. There are several growth factors available such as filgrastim and pegfilgrastim.
.

.

What are the signs and symptoms of an infection?

If you notice any symptoms of infection, seek medical attention immediately. Minor infections can become serious very quickly. You will need to undergo tests to detect the source of infection and be treated with antibiotics.
.

.

Are there any precautions I should take with food when I am neutropaenic?

When you are neutropaenic, you are at risk of food-borne illnesses. There are precautions you should follow to ensure food safety:

  • Wash your hands before preparing food.
  • Wash all fruits and vegetables thoroughly before eating and cooking.
  • Make sure food is well cooked, especially meats.
  • Avoid rare-cooked or raw fish and meat.
  • Use pasteurised eggs, milk, cheese, yoghurt, and other dairy products. Cook eggs thoroughly
  • You may consume honey and fruit juices.
  • Check “use-by” dates on groceries.
  • Avoid salad bars and buffets.
  • Keep the work area in the kitchen clean.
  • Keep poultry and raw meat apart from cooked foods to avoid cross-contamination.

.

Precautions to follow when visiting the emergency department

When you visit an emergency department, inform the doctor or nurse that you are undergoing chemotherapy and have the symptoms of infection. Patients receiving chemotherapy should avoid sitting in a waiting room for extended periods.
.

Disclaimer:
The information on the Centre For Clinical Haematology website is intended for educational use.  It should not be considered or used as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment from a qualified health professional.

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Email : contact@cfch.com.sg
.

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Saturday : 8.30am – 12.30pm
Closed on Sunday & Public Holidays

 

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Print PDF

What is Neutropaenia?

Neutrophils are a type of white blood cell. White blood cells protect us from infections. Neutrophils are the “first responders” in the presence of infective pathogens and quickly appear at the site of the infection. These cells ingest and destroy foreign particles. A normal count of neutrophils also called the absolute neutrophil count, ranges from 2.5 to 6. A neutrophil count of less than 1 is called neutropaenia. Neutropaenia is common in patients who are receiving and undergoing chemotherapy and can increase your risk of infection.
.

How does chemotherapy increase the risk of Neutropaenia?

Chemotherapy drugs work by destroying the fast-growing cells, which include both cancer cells and healthy cells. The destruction of healthy white blood cells results in neutropaenia.
.

How will I know if I have Neutropaenia?

Neutropaenia is common in patients receiving chemotherapy. Our doctor will test your blood at regular intervals during cancer treatment to test for neutropaenia.
.

When is the risk of developing Neutropaenia the highest?

Neutropaenia usually occurs around 7 to 12 days after chemotherapy. This period may differ depending on your type of chemotherapy drug. It is crucial to watch for signs of infection during this period.
.

How can Neutropaenia be prevented?

It is difficult to prevent neutropaenia. However, during chemotherapy you may receive growth factor injections to stimulate the production of neutrophils. There are several growth factors available such as filgrastim and pegfilgrastim.
.

.

What are the signs and symptoms of an infection?

If you notice any symptoms of infection, seek medical attention immediately. Minor infections can become serious very quickly. You will need to undergo tests to detect the source of infection and be treated with antibiotics.
.

.

Are there any precautions I should take with food when I am neutropaenic?

When you are neutropaenic, you are at risk of food-borne illnesses. There are precautions you should follow to ensure food safety:

  • Wash your hands before preparing food.
  • Wash all fruits and vegetables thoroughly before eating and cooking.
  • Make sure food is well cooked, especially meats.
  • Avoid rare-cooked or raw fish and meat.
  • Use pasteurised eggs, milk, cheese, yoghurt, and other dairy products. Cook eggs thoroughly
  • You may consume honey and fruit juices.
  • Check “use-by” dates on groceries.
  • Avoid salad bars and buffets.
  • Keep the work area in the kitchen clean.
  • Keep poultry and raw meat apart from cooked foods to avoid cross-contamination.

.

Precautions to follow when visiting the emergency department

When you visit an emergency department, inform the doctor or nurse that you are undergoing chemotherapy and have the symptoms of infection. Patients receiving chemotherapy should avoid sitting in a waiting room for extended periods.
.

Disclaimer:
The information on the Centre For Clinical Haematology website is intended for educational use.  It should not be considered or used as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment from a qualified health professional.

    Contact Us

Locations

Contact

Consultation Hours

Monday to Friday : 8.30am – 5.30pm
Saturday : 8.30am – 12.30pm
Closed on Sunday & Public Holidays

Find us on Facebook

Drop a Line

Contact Us

If you have any questions about your condition or would like to make an appointment, simply fill up the form and we'll contact you as soon as we can

Disclaimer | 2020 Centre For Clinical Haematology | Website Created by Cleveraa