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Mumsnetters aren't necessarily qualified to help if your child is unwell. If you have any serious medical concerns, we would urge you to consult your GP.

Low white blood cell count

(23 Posts)
frazzledbutcalm Mon 21-Jan-13 10:52:21

DD aged 9 has a low white blood cell count. She's getting another blood test on Wednesday to see what her levels are then.. Can anybody shed any light on what this actually means?? GP just said her levels are low, if they stay at the same level then that's not really a concern, but if they drop further then it would be a problem. He said the normal level is 5 and hers is 4.3, another part should be 2 and hers is 1.4. She's tested negative for glandular fever and she doesn't have an infection. She was referred for a blood test originally as she's got a constant sore throat which has been ongoing for 13 weeks.. Any advice/help gratefully received. TIA

frazzledbutcalm Mon 21-Jan-13 19:49:45

Bumping for some help...

Snowyelephantshavewrinkles Mon 21-Jan-13 20:08:23

hi try not to think about all the what it could be and do not use Dr Google. I would insist on Wednesday that you want some answers etc
Sending hugs x

frazzledbutcalm Mon 21-Jan-13 20:15:09

Oh Dr Google ... He's some character isn't he grin Thanks for the hugs. I know it could be serious but I also know it could be something simple. I was hoping to get some answers on the simple things, and reassurance that it actually could be something simple. Thanks for your reply.

DianaTrent Mon 21-Jan-13 20:24:05

Hopefully it's just that her system is ground down from fighting the throat virus so long. Viruses can depress bone marrow function. Fingers crossed for better levels next time. It's very hard waiting, though, keep busy if you can. Fingers crossed for you here.

MustafaCake Mon 21-Jan-13 20:28:33

DS had this over the summer. A low count which the Dr said was probably him fighting off a virus/ being wiped out from a virus (he'd had a flu like bug weeks earlier but nothing major).

They did a retest 4 weeks later and some extra tests for the "nasties" but by then his count had risen to normal levels.

I'm sure she's just wiped out from fighting something off.

frazzledbutcalm Mon 21-Jan-13 20:33:25

Thanks all, lets hope so. Her throat has been sore for a long time now yet GP says there's been no sign of virus/infection for weeks now..

tiggytape Mon 21-Jan-13 22:48:51

Even if the infection has gone, it may still take some time for the number of white blood cells to recover. One of the most common reasons for them to be depleted is that a child has recently fought off a viral infection and basically used up a lot white cells doing so.
In most cases a second blood test shows levels back to normal again.

tiggytape Mon 21-Jan-13 22:55:29

Also a sore throat may lead to a more restricted diet (due to pain) and vitamin deficiency is also another possible cause of low white cell count. If the sore throat has prevented her eating as she would normally for many months then this may have contributed / casued a problem. Generally though, the count will come back up again soon especially if the infection and symptoms have passed. I am sure it will be absolutely fine but I know it is a worry while you have to wait.

frazzledbutcalm Mon 21-Jan-13 23:19:03

Thanks tiggy. She's eating fine, but just complains constantly of her throat being sore. I've never known a sore throat last so long! Especially when there's nothing to see! It's mildly red to me but GP says it looks normal. Fingers crossed her levels are up on her next blood test.

yawningmonster Wed 23-Jan-13 08:29:37

Hi, not sure if my post will be helpful but I hope so in terms of showing it can just be an unknown virus.

My dd is 3 and we originally went to doctor as I couldn't get her fever down and when we got to doctors it was 40. She referred us onto hospital for safety sake and she was up to 41 by then. Her first bloods showed low white blood cell count also of 1.4. Her Neutrophils and Lymphocytes were particularly low with .6 and .7 and her platelets were also down.

Just to scare us absolutely stupid we were put into protective isolation and referred to the Paediatric Oncologist who also happened to be a Haematologist (at least they said she was one of their leading paediatric blood people so I assume she was a haematologist.

Anyway dds levels dropped further which was particularly frightening and she kept on spiking fevers. She was on IV fluids and some kick ass antibiotics as although they couldn't find what ever was causing the temps she had no chance of fighting anything so at least the antibiotics gave her something to fight with.

As fast as she went downhill though she came back up again. We spent 6 days in hospital and then we had a day clinic a few days later to recheck all her levels and everything was back in the range it should be and her WBC was 533 so I think 1.4 is quite low. She was discharged with the diagnoses of Viral illness causing myelosuppression. We are almost a week past the day clinic and she is almost completely back to herself.

As far as I am aware the only real symptom was the temperature though she is quite wee and was completely off her food so it is possible that she had a sore throat and wasn't able to tell me. One consultant who managed to get a glance while she was mid holler did say it looked a little red.

Anyway I thought I would share so you know there are things that can do this that while nasty are not as nasty as other possibilities.

frazzledbutcalm Wed 23-Jan-13 22:10:28

Thanks yawning ... you had an awful time! I'm pleased your dd is well on the mend.
Dd was supposed to have 2nd blood test today, but the nurse couldn't get any blood out! Not 1 drip! She said vein probably collapsed and asked dd if she could try again with another vein. Dd said no. So she didn't! angry We now have another appointment booked for Tuesday, so here's hoping we have better luck then.

lisad123everybodydancenow Wed 23-Jan-13 22:37:24

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

yawningmonster Wed 23-Jan-13 23:36:20

whoops lisa I read the wrong column her platelets had gone up to 533 (from 94) her white cell count was 7.3. Sorry for confusion. Frazzled we had loads of trouble getting bloods out of dd's tiny veins. They did use a cream like substance that they left on for an hour to numb the area so Im not sure if that is possible in your situation but may help.

frazzledbutcalm Thu 24-Jan-13 19:35:57

Yeh we've used the 'magic cream' both times. She still feels needle though. Dd just has bad reaction afterwards. Her body seems to go into shock - goes the palest pale I've ever seen, goes dizzy, freezing cold to touch but sweat dripping from her, and deadly silent! She perks up after half hour to an hour! I think it's a needle phobia, although I have no idea how it started! She's ok about going and getting it done, she doesn't cause a fuss or anything, she sits and puts arm out etc, just reacts badly afterwards!

Inmyopinion1 Sun 27-Jan-13 04:02:01

With regards to her reaction to the needle: the magic cream will reduce the sharp sensation of a needle but you still feel pressure this, coupled with anxiety, contributes to how a child reacts to blood tests. She may also have a vase-vagal response to the needle meeting the vein wall.

None of the white cell numbers you have reported are all that worrying and I'm surprised anyone wanted to repeat them. It's most likely a viral response and I wouldn't give it a second thought.

frazzledbutcalm Sun 27-Jan-13 20:21:46

inmy - dd is an anxious girl so maybe that heightens everything anyway. GP said he wanted the cell count repeated to make sure they don't drop further ... Here's hoping they're up on her next test.

Inmyopinion1 Tue 29-Jan-13 03:45:23

I wouldn't worry about it. With regards to the test it's best to be matter of fact about it. She'll respond to your stresses so if you appear anxious or worried then she'll be more concerned. At the end of the day we're all a product of our experiences and if you've never had a blood test before you've got nothing to judge it by except the reactions of those around you.

Good luck.

frazzledbutcalm Tue 29-Jan-13 23:22:00

inmy - I understand what you say .. I'm only concerned about her low count, not the blood test, needle etc. The blood test itself is kind of in the background. She reacts badly afterwards (shock I guess) but nothing I can do. We've had to re-book the test now for Friday as she came down with sickness and diarrhoea yesterday :-( Not sure if this will now affect the count? We'll get there eventually.

Inmyopinion1 Wed 30-Jan-13 04:02:17

This count isn't terribly low but is outside the reference ranges. Any episode of sickness can effect the count. Sure it will be fine.

frazzledbutcalm Wed 30-Jan-13 10:39:49

Thanks, I didn't think the count was low enough to warrant another test but GP says it has to be rechecked. I might ring surgery today and see if Friday would give an accurate result, given that she was last sick on Monday night. I don't know how many days it would take to get out of her system ... The last thing I want is for it to come back low again because of the vomiting bug as that would mean probably more investigations that aren't necessary.

frazzledbutcalm Fri 01-Feb-13 19:40:28

Dd had blood test today and we found blood this time! wink

frazzledbutcalm Thu 21-Feb-13 20:14:09

Hi all/anyone still watching this thread ....
Dd wbc count is up to 7.1 so now fine.

I asked them to check thyroid levels at the same time .. blood test has confirmed she has problems with this.. been referred to paediatric endocrinology. I'm guessing (but could be wrong) her sore throat is maybe a small goiter caused by thyroid.

Anyway, I'm happy wbc is now ok. And happy they'll find and treat thyroid/throat problem.

Thanks to everyone for all help and advice.


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