White Blood Cells Suppression

The bone marrow is the place in the body where white cells, red blood cells and platelets are made. White blood cells fight infection, red blood cells carry oxygen and platelets to clot blood and to promote healing.

Chemotherapy drugs and sometimes radiation therapy can affect the bone marrow and cause a decrease in the number of blood cells. These effects are usually temporary and manageable. Your doctor will take frequent blood tests to detect early signs of bone marrow suppression. It is not unusual for your blood cell count to decrease after a treatment session. It will usually return to normal or near normal before your next session. If not, treatment may be postponed.

Low White Blood Cell Count

A decreased number of white blood cells will make you more vulnerable to infections. Here are some things your can do to help.

  1. Avoid crowds and people with colds, infections, or contagious diseases such as chicken pox or flu.
  2. Watch for signs and symptoms of infection: redness, swelling, soreness, cough, loose bowels, a burning feeling when urination and fever.
  3. If you suspect an infection, take your temperature daily. Report a continuous temperature of 100.5 F degrees to your doctor.
  4. Shower or bath daily, pay special attention to cleansing your genital area.
  5. Wash your hands before meals and after using the bathroom.
  6. Protect your skin – avoid prolonged exposure to the sun and cuts and scratches. If your skin becomes dry and cracked, use lotion or oil to soften and heal it.
  7. Keep your mouth clean and moist. Good daily hygiene can help prevent mouth sores or infections. To prevent breaks in your mouth, avoid using a hard toothbrush or mouthwash containing alcohol. Inspect your mouth daily using a good light.
  8. Do not tear or cut your nail cuticle. Use cuticle cream and remover instead.
  9. Do no squeeze or scratch pimples.
  10. Include foods in your diet that are high in protein and calories (meat, fish, poultry, eggs, milk, cheese, ice cream, milkshakes and peanut butter) as well as foods high in vitamin C (tomatoes, citrus fruits and green and yellow vegetables.
  11. Avoid cleaning the bird cage or the cat litterbox. Animal excretion can be a source of fungal infections.