What are neutropenic precautions? (say new-tro-pee’-nee-ic) Neutropenic precautions are taken when there is a decrease in white blood cells. The white blood cells kill diseases and infections. This condition occurs mostly in patients receiving chemotherapy. Here are some of the neutropenic precautions that are taken to reduce infections.
- Patient temperature. Report and inform the patient’s doctor if his or her temperature is 100 degrees or higher. A high temperature may indicate an infection.
- Door Cards. Patients with a low white blood count in a medical facility should have a door card labeled neutropenic precautions. This label informs the staff, visitors, and doctors.
- Hand Washing. To reduce the chances of exposure to infections, patients will need to wash their hands whenever they eat.
- Eating. Neutropenic precautions inform patients to avoid eating uncooked vegetables or fruits. If you have a low white blood cell count, do not eat raw food.
- Drinking. Do not drink behind any one or eat behind anyone. The neutropenic precautions are taken to prevent diseases.
- Protective Clothing. Protective clothing is worn by the medical staff to ensure patient and staff safety. It is not uncommon for a patient’s room to contain an isolation kit. The kit may have gloves, masks, or protective eyewear.
- Wound Care. Wound care is very important for patients under neutropenic precautions. The nurse and the patient should be aware of all body wounds, IV sites, and dressings.
- Mouth and Skin. Special attention should be given to oral and skin care to reduce infections. Oral care kits and skin treatment creams could be used as instructed by a physician.
- Communicable Diseases. Patients and staff should be alert and avoid the patient from becoming into contact with someone that may be ill or have a communicable disease.
- Needle Sticks. All staff members should have training about needle sticks because they do happen. They should be informed about what steps to take if they injured by a needle.