Neutropenic Precautions: What It Is and What It Is For?

Do you have ulcers, rashes, abscesses or wounds that take some time to heal? If you do, you may be suffering from a more serious health condition called neutropenia.

Neutropenia is a condition wherein a person’s white blood cells are considerably low. It can be caused by nutritional deficiency, bone marrow problem, leukemia, tuberculosis, certain viral infection, dengue fever, chemotherapy, or exposure to radiation. White blood cells defend the body against bacteria and infections. With a low level of white blood cells, a person is more prone to infections including ulcer and many others.

Unlike other health conditions which manifest different symptoms, neutropenia does not have any symptoms. That is why it is hard to detect. Many patients just learn of their condition through a blood test conducted for unrelated purposes.

To prevent patients with neutropenia from getting serious infections, they normally undergo neutropenic precautions, you can read more about it here at As far as I know, the neutropenic precautions have no standard protocol yet and they can vary across medical institutions. But there are three more common neutropenic precautions, namely diet, clothing and environment.

Neutropenic Diet

A person under neutropenic diet must avoid eating all uncooked or undercooked vegetables, fish, meat, and poultry products. Most uncooked fruits must also be avoided except those with thick peelings such as oranges and bananas. Aside from cooked vegetables, meat, poultry and fish, you may also eat canned fruits, vacuum packed meats, pasteurized milk and other dairy products. You should also take in more water. Other foods to be avoided are honey, deli foods and salads.

The neutropenic diet is normally observed when the patient’s white blood cells fall below a certain limit. And it is strictly observed until the condition improves.

Neutropenic Clothing

Also part of neutropenic precaution is to wear the right clothing. You should wear full and clean clothing including shoes every day. It is also recommended to wear a mask especially if you are near a hospital to prevent contact with airborne bacteria and microorganisms.

Neutropenic Environment

As a neutropenic precaution, it is best that you should be in a private room if staying in the hospital. Under no circumstances should a person with flu or another transmittable disease be allowed to visit you. Normally, healthcare providers of neutropenia patients are not allowed to care for other patients with transmittable diseases to prevent spreading the infection. Furthermore, you and those people who are around you should always observe proper hand washing protocols.


Patients suffering from neutropenia need to consult their doctor. In mild cases of neutropenia, observing neutropenic precautions may be enough to treat the condition. However, in severe cases, your doctor may recommend taking drugs that can suppress the immune system or drugs that can help fight bacterial infections. There is also a special treatment called granulocyte colony-stimulating factor or more commonly known as G-CSF which is designed to stimulate the production of white blood cells by the bone marrow.

The different neutropenic precautions play an important role in the treatment and in the prevention of infections of patients with neutropenia. If you are suffering from this health problem, it would be best to strictly observe them.