This is identified by complete blood count performed from a blood sample. Differential count can be more specific for a specific type of white blood cell.
When deciding on treatment, health care providers consider the cause and severity of the neutropenia. Mild cases may not need any treatment. Treatment is based upon the underlying cause, severity and presence of associated infections or symptoms.
Approaches for treating neutropenia include:
- Bacterial infections
- Drugs to suppress the immune system
- A treatment called granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF). This stimulates the bone marrow to produce more white blood cells. It is used for several types of neutropenia, including congenital types. This treatment can be lifesaving in these cases.
- Changing medications, if possible, in cases of drug-induced neutropenia
- Treating an underlying infection, if it’s causing the problem
- Stem cell transplants may be useful in treating some types of severe neutropenia, including those caused by bone marrow problems.
People with neutropenia often need to take special steps to prevent infections. These neutropenia precautions include:
- Good hygiene, including frequent hand washing and good dental care, such as regular tooth brushing and flossing
- Avoiding contact with sick people
- Always wearing shoes
- Cleaning cuts and scrapes, then covering them with a bandage
- Using an electric shaver rather than a razor
- Avoiding animal waste and, when possible, not changing infants’ diapers
- Avoiding unpasteurized dairy foods; undercooked meat; and raw fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, and honey
- Staying out of hot tubs, ponds, and rivers