A low white blood cell count is an unusually low number of one or more kinds of white blood cells.
A low white blood cell count puts you at increased risk of infection
Some infections can be life-threatening
A low white blood cell count is often a side effect of drugs, particularly chemotherapy drugs
Sometimes a low white blood cell count is caused by an infection or cancer
Doctors may do blood tests and bone marrow tests to see why your white blood cell count is low
Doctors may give you medicine to increase your white blood cells and antibiotics if you have a fever or other signs of infection
There are many causes of a low white blood cell count:
A low white blood cell count has no specific symptoms. You get symptoms because you develop frequent infections. Sometimes the infections are unusual ones that most people don't get.
Symptoms of infections can start suddenly or slowly and can include:
Doctors can tell you have a low white blood cell count by doing a routine complete blood count (CBC). If you're getting treatments or have a disease that can lower your white blood cell count, doctors check your CBC often.
Sometimes, the cause is obvious, such as if you’re getting chemotherapy or radiation therapy for cancer.
If the cause isn't clear, doctors may do: