Low Red Blood Cell Count

A decreased number of red blood cells (anemia) can make you feel tired, weak, chilly, dizzy or short of breath. Here are some things you can do to help yourself feel better.

  1. Get plenty of rest, conserve your energy. Alternate rest periods with periods of activity.
  2. Elevate your head with several pillows if you find you are short of breath.
  3. Move slowly to avoid getting dizzy. When you get up in the morning, sit on the side of the bed for awhile before standing. If you find yourself continuing to get dizzy, let your doctor or nurse know.
  4. Add more green, leafy vegetables, liver and red meats (if you can) to your diet.
  5. Keep warm. Wear an extra sweater or jacket if you feel chilly.

Low platelet count

A decreased number of platelets may cause you to bruise or bleed easily. Here are some ways to avoid problems when your platelet count is low:

  1. Avoid cuts, scratches, burns and bruising of the skin.
    • Avoid blowing your nose too hard as this may rupture a blood vessel in your nose causing a nosebleed.
    • Protect yourself by wearing gloves when gardening or reaching in the oven.
    • Wear shoes or slippers to protect your feet.
    • Be careful when using knives or tools.
    • When shaving use an electric shaver.
  2. Avoid straining to move your bowels. Your doctor can prescribe a stool softener to help avoid this problem.
  3. When blood is drawn or injections given, apply gentle pressure over the needle site for 3 to 5 minutes to make sure the site will not bleed.
  4. Do not take over the counter pain medication such as aspirin or aspirin-containing medication as these aspirin medications tend to prolong bleeding. Do not take ibuprofen, Advil, Motrin, naproxen, Aleve or simular medications without first checking with your doctor or nurse. Do not take any medication without first checking with your doctor or nurse.
  5. Do not have any alcoholic drinks unless your doctor says it’s alright.
  6. Avoid contact sports and other activities that might result in injury.

REMEMBER:

The effects on your blood counts are TEMPORARY and INDIVIDUALIZED. Your body is working very hard to make new cells and repair tissues every day. To help, eat a well-balanced diet emphasizing high protein and calorie foods, drink 8 to 10 glasses of fluid each day (includes jello, soup, ice cream, popsicles) and remain as active as possible within your energy level and limits of your disease.

* For a nosebleed, apply pressure to the nostril bleeding, tip head back. Apply ice to the bridge of the nose and back of the throat. If your nose bleed lasts more than 10 minutes, call your doctor.