Did you know that the human body has special white blood cells called neutrophils that function to fight various forms of infection? Although the benefits to the body are very significant, unfortunately some people have very low neutrophil levels, especially if the person is undergoing cancer treatment such as chemotherapy. This health disorder known as neutropenia can also be experienced by those who have a poor diet, blood disease, or spinal cord infection. Have you experienced it too? To increase the levels of neutrophils in the body, try changing your diet and taking certain medications recommended by your doctor. Also take extra precautions to avoid exposure to germs and/or bacteria in order to maintain a healthy body when neutrophil levels are below their normal limits.
Method 1 of 3: Adjusting Your Diet
Step 1. Eat fruits and vegetables that are high in vitamin C
Vitamin C is effective in strengthening the immune system and keeping your neutrophil levels in check. Try to increase the consumption of fruits such as oranges, bananas, apples, and pears. Also increase the consumption of vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, bell peppers, kale, and spinach to maintain your neutrophil levels.
Step 2. Eat foods rich in vitamin E and zinc
Vitamin E is an essential substance to stimulate the production of white blood cells in the body. Meanwhile, zinc is a very essential substance to increase neutrophil levels. Both are contained in various types of food that you can easily find everyday.
- Foods such as almonds, avocados, wheat germ (wheat germ), sunflower seeds, palm oil, and olive oil are especially rich in vitamin E.
- Oysters, poultry, kidney beans, peanuts, and whole grains are some foods that have very high levels of zinc.
Step 3. Eat foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids
Foods like salmon, mackerel, and flaxseed oil have very high levels of omega 3 fatty acids! In fact, omega 3 fatty acids can increase levels of phagocytes or white blood cells that consume bad bacteria in the human body. Therefore, try to increase the consumption of salmon and mackerel, cook food using flaxseed oil, or consume tsp. pure flaxseed oil once a day.
Step 4. Eat foods rich in vitamin B-12
Neutropenia can also occur if your body is deficient in vitamin B-12! Therefore, try to increase the consumption of foods rich in vitamin B-12 such as fish, eggs, milk, and green leafy vegetables to increase your neutrophil levels.
- Some processed soybean products are also very rich in vitamin B-12. For those of you who are vegetarians or are reluctant to consume animal products, there is nothing wrong with increasing the consumption of processed soybeans.
- If necessary, also consume vitamin B-12 in supplement form to maximize the body's nutritional needs.
Step 5. Avoid raw beef, fish or eggs
If consumed in a raw state, these three foodstuffs are prone to entering bacteria and germs into your body! Therefore, make sure you first cook it at a safe internal temperature before consuming it.
Step 6. Take nutritional supplements as directed by your doctor
If your diet or appetite is very poor, try taking a multivitamin or supplement to increase the production of white blood cells in the body. However, make sure you always consult the consumption of any supplements with your doctor!
Make sure your doctor is also aware of any other medicines you are currently taking before making any supplement recommendations
Step 7. Wash and prepare food properly
Before consumption, wash all vegetables and fruits that will be consumed with warm running water. This process must be done to reduce the potential for germs and bacteria to enter the body. After washing thoroughly, cook food at a safe internal temperature. If the food is not finished eating, store it in the refrigerator or freezer for a maximum of two hours after the food is cooked. Do not use wooden cutting boards or sponges, which have a high risk of attracting germs and bacteria.
Preparing food and cooking it properly can reduce the risk of infection with germs and bacteria that are prone to harming the health of people with low neutrophil levels
Method 2 of 3: Performing Medical Treatment
Step 1. Ask your doctor for prescription drugs to increase neutrophil levels
Medications such as Neupogen can help increase the levels of neutrophils in your body, especially if you are also on cancer therapy. Generally, these drugs will be injected by a doctor or inserted into the body with the help of an IV. If your neutrophil levels are very low, and if you are on chemotherapy, it is likely that the drug administration procedure will be done every day.
Some of the side effects that you may experience are nausea, fever, bone pain, and back pain
Step 2. Ask about other conditions that may be affecting your neutrophil levels
Indeed, neutropenia can also be caused by a viral or bacterial infection. If this is your situation, your doctor will most likely ask you to hospitalize and give antibiotics to treat the infection. Your neutrophil levels should return to normal once the infection clears up.
Step 3. Get a bone marrow transplant if your condition gets worse
If the cause of your low neutrophil levels is a disease such as leukemia or aplastic anemia, your doctor will likely order a bone marrow transplant. The transplant process is done by replacing the problematic bone marrow with new bone marrow from selected donors. During the transplant process, you will be under general anaesthesia.
Most likely, you will also need to take certain medications before and after the transplant process to make sure your infection is completely cleared and your neutrophil levels are back to normal
Method 3 of 3: Maintaining Health Despite Low Neutrophil Levels
Step 1. Wash your hands regularly with warm water and antibacterial soap
Proper hand washing patterns can be a powerful shield to protect the body from exposure to germs and bacteria that cause infection, especially if your neutrophil levels and immune system are low. Therefore, always wash your hands with soap and rub your hands under running water for 15-30 seconds. After that, rinse your hands with warm water and dry them with a towel or kitchen paper.
- Always wash your hands before eating, drinking, taking medication, and after getting out of the bathroom. Also, make sure you wash your hands before touching food or any part of your body (especially your eyes, nose and mouth).
- Always wash your hands after touching animals.
Step 2. Wear a mask to protect your nose and mouth from bacteria and/or germs
Do this every time you have to go outside or in a crowded public place. Also wear a mask at home, especially if your home is not clean enough or if you share your house with other people.
You can find protective face masks at pharmacies, supermarkets, and/or shops that sell beauty products
Step 3. Stay away from people who have a cold or fever
As much as possible, do not spend time with people who are sick so that your body is not exposed to the germs and bacteria they carry. At the very least, do this until your neutrophil levels return to normal.
Also avoid places that are too crowded and prone to being filled with sick people such as malls
Step 4. Maintain oral hygiene to reduce the potential for infection
Brush your teeth and floss between your teeth, at least 2-3 times a day and after meals. If possible, try gargling with a mixture of water and baking soda to kill germs and bacteria in your mouth. Make sure you also always clean the bristles of your toothbrush regularly using warm water!