Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, MD, FFARCSI

What is Neutropenia?

Neutropenia is a condition where there is a reduced level of neutrophils which are a type of white blood cells in the bloodstream. It is essential to note that a neutropenic diet and appropriate care and symptom management steps can help one come out of the neutropenic condition in a better and more effective way. We have already talked about what is neutropenia before in our epainassist website. Here in this article we will talk about neutropenic diet, care, management and guidelines for neutropenia.

Neutropenic Diet: Healthy Foods to Eat in Neutropenia

Appropriate Neutropenic diet is very essential to choose in case you are neutropenic. Patients with severe neutropenia may suffer from weak immune system. In such cases, the food they take would help in preventing the invading bacteria or any other microorganisms that cause infections. A neutropenic diet will be pretty beneficial in such cases. Below we will take a look on some of the best neutropenic diet plans.

Beverages in Neutropenic Diet:

Choose to take instant and brewed decaf or regular tea and coffee, bottles of carbonated beverages, all canned or powdered beverages, sports drinks etc, bottled and distilled water, ice made from mineral or tap water etc.

Avoid taking cold brewed tea or sun tea.

Dairy Products in Neutropenic Diet:

Choose to take dairy products like pasteurized milk, fat free milk, whole milk, butter milk or chocolate milk; sour cream, home-made milkshakes, liquid and powdered drinks, refrigerated and frozen whipped topping, commercial eggnog etc.

Avoid taking unpasteurized milk or yogurt, eggnog made of raw eggs, yogurt or soft icecreams made by machines, Yogurt or yogurt products made of live active cultures, Milkshakes made with non-commercial ice-creams etc.

Starch in Neutropenic Diet:

Choose all types of breads, English muffins, rolls, donuts, fruit muffins etc; waffles, French toasts, Pancakes; crackers, potato chips, corn chips, popcorn, all types of ready-to-eat cereals, cooked grains, rice, pasta, macaroni, noodles etc, cooked potatoes, French fries etc.

Avoid taking breads and rolls with raw nuts, raw oats, cereals with raw nuts, uncooked pasta, pasta salad with raw vegetables etc. when suffering from Neutropenia.

Desserts and Sweet Items in Neutropenic Diet:

Choose desserts like cake, pies and cookies, puddings, gelatine, baked custard, fruit ice, commercial ice-creams, popsicles etc, candy and chocolates, pasteurized honey and syrup etc. All these sweets food items can be taken as a part of Neutropenic Diet.

Avoid cakes containing raw nuts, unbaked cookies dough, homemade or non-commercial ice-cream, candy with raw nuts, soft ice-creams or yogurt from a machine etc. when suffering from Neutropenia.

Cheese in Neutropenic Diet:

Choose to take commercial prepared cheesed, pasteurized cottage cheese, ricotta cheesed, processed cheese etc., as a part of Neutropenic Diet.

Avoid eating unpasteurized or raw milk cheese, soft cheeses, cheeses with molds or cheeses containing uncooked or raw vegetables etc.

Fats in Neutropenic Diet:

In Neutropenic Diet, choose butters or margarine, non-dairy creamers, oil of all types, cream cheese, sour cream, salad dressing etc.

Avoid eating fats contained in foods like Avocado dressing, fresh salad dressings containing raw eggs or uncooked herbs etc. when suffering from Neutropenia.

Meat in Neutropenic Diet:

Choose to take properly cooked meats, poultry or poultry products, beef, pork, hotdogs, fish etc, pasteurized or cooked tofu, pasteurized egg substitutes and powdered eggs, well done eggs, frozen entrees, canned and home-made soups etc. Can be taken as part of Neutropenic Diet.

Avoid raw or medium cooked meat, fish or poultry, raw eggs, cold meat or poultry, fast foods, stir-fried foods, not well cooked eggs etc.

Vegetables in Neutropenic Diet:

In a Neutropenic Diet, choose to consume canned vegetable juices, canned or frozen vegetables after properly cooked.

Avoid taking raw vegetables, fresh salads, stir fried vegetables etc. in neutropenia.

Fruits and Fruit Juices in Neutropenic Diet:

Choose to eat canned fruits and juices, pasteurized fruit juices, thick skinned fruits like bananas, grapefruits oranges that are properly washed and peeled off by someone. You can also take pasteurized apple juice, frozen fruits, dried fruits etc.

Avoid eating unwashed raw fruits, unpasteurized fruit juices, all the fresh fruits except those with the thick skins like banana, grapefruits, oranges etc. should be avoided.

Neutropenic Diet: Miscellaneous

Choose individual packages of sugar, salt and pepper used after cooking, add all other herbs or seasonings while cooking, use low sodium seasoning during cooking, gravy and cream sause, Jam and jelly, commercial pickles packaged in bottles, Lactaid drops, nuts in baked goods, roasted nuts etc. can be taken as a part of Neutropenic Diet.

Avoid adding spices, herbs or seasonings to foods after cooking, avoid home-canned or uncanned pickles, raw nuts, freshly made peanut butter, avoid hollandaise sauce, roasted nuts in shell etc. when suffering from Neutropenia.

Basic Guidelines in a Neutropenic Diet

It is essential for you to check with your doctor for the appropriate diet and safe preparation of the neutropenic diet. However, below we have listed some of the basic guidelines for a neutropenic diet.

  • Fresh or raw fruits and vegetables must be avoided. It is essential to take cooked vegetables, juices and canned fruits.
  • Avoid raw nuts. Baked products with these ingredients also should be avoided when following a Neutropenic Diet.
  • Make sure you are taking the dairy products which are pasteurized when suffering from Neutropenia.
  • Yogurt and yogurt products with live and active cultures must be avoided when suffering from Neutropenia.
  • It is essential to take boiled water in Neutropenic Diet. Well water can be used after boiling at least for one minute.
  • Refrigerate your food slowly so as to keep away the growth of germs.
  • Keep the raw and the cooked foods separately.

Make sure you wash your hands before eating and handle your foods with properly cleaned hands when suffering from Neutropenia.

Neutropenic Care and Symptom Management

“Care and Symptom management is crucial enough for a healthy recovery!” Apart from the neutropenic diets and the basic guidelines that one must follow with the neutropenic diet in neutropenic condition; there are some other care and symptom management ways or some precautions to be maintained so as to keep away from the infection caused due to neutropenia. Below we will talk about some of the essential care and symptom management steps, which must be taken in neutropenic conditions.

Wash Your Hands Often: It is important to wash your hands very often so as to keep away from infection in neutropenia. Always use soap and water. Wash your hands after using your bathroom, sneezing or coughing or even after changing your baby’s diaper. Make sure you have a habit of washing your hands before eating your meals as part of care and symptom management in Neutropenia.

Take Regular Baths: Regular baths are essential in neutropenic conditions. This aids in reducing the growth of germs on the skin. Germs can cause infections; and thus taking bath regularly would reduce the chances of infection in neutropenia.

Brush Your Teeth Properly: Our mouth is a common place for infection. So, it is essential for you to brush your teeth twice a day regularly with a soft brush and keep your mouth clean and infection- free in neutropenic conditions.

Keep Away From Sick People: It is good to avoid contact with sick people if you have neutropenia. This would help you keep away from the risk of infections.

Cover Any Cuts or Injury over the Skin: Make sure you are careful and keep yourself away from unnecessary cuts and injuries on the skin. This would help you protect from infections in neutropenia.

Check Your Clothing: Your clothing can help you prevent germs and microbes coming in contact with the patient. Patients suffering from neutropenia must be fully clothed at all times and must change their clothing daily. Apart from this, in case of severe neutropenia one must wear masks.

Keep A Safe Environment For Self: If you are a neutropenic, you must be placed in a private room and must keep away strictly from visiting anyone with a transmittable disease like flu. Additionally, there must be no fresh flowers or plants in the room of a neutropenic patient. The environment must be absolutely clean and free from dirt, or any kind of substance which can cause infection when suffering from Neutropenia.

Prevent Self From Constipation: Constipation can lead to a tear in your rectum, which in turn can cause infection or invading of the germs inside easily. Ask for stool softeners from your caregiver and keep away from constipation in Neutropenia.

Women Must Avoid Using Tampons: Women, during their menstrual periods, must make use of sanitary pads instead of using tampons. This is an essential neutropenic precaution an care and management to keep away from infections.

Do Not Share Personal Items: Make sure you are not sharing your personal items like drinking glasses, bath towels, bathing soaps, eating utensils etc. with others. This is essential to follow so as to keep away from the risks of infection in neutropenic conditions.

Bathe Yourself After Cleaning Your Pet: Contact with your pet’s feces, saliva or urine may cause certain infection in you when suffering from Neutropenia. So, you can take someone’s help in cleaning your pet houses like birdcages, fish tanks etc. If you are doing it yourself, make sure you are properly washing your hands with soap and drying them properly and better yet, take a bath after taking care of your pet when suffering from Neutropenia.

Avoid Fresh Flowers, Standing Water & Live Plants: Fresh flowers, live plants and standing water may have germs growing in them from the soil or water. So, if you are neutropenic, kindly keep away from them and prevent self from getting encountered with any unwanted infections.

Conclusion

Now, here we talked about the condition of low neutrophil count in the bloodstream known as Neutropenic condition and some of the best ways to reduce or treat the symptoms of neutropenia. It is essential to note that in case you or any of your known ones is suffering from neutropenia to make sure the above mentioned precautions and guidelines are followed in a strict manner along with the appropriate neutropenic diet.

It is a strict note to visit a healthcare professional in case of any severe symptoms in neutropenia and follow the advised diagnosis and treatment for quick and appropriate relief.

Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: January 2, 2019

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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