Leukopenia is a symptom of an underlying cause, such as a viral infection, autoimmune disorder, cancer or medication that destroys white blood cells, so treatment usually involves addressing the cause, explains Mayo Clinic. A doctor may suggest precautions against infections, such as avoiding sick individuals and wearing a face mask.
People with low white blood cell counts are at an increased risk of catching contagious diseases, which makes it is especially important for individuals with leukopenia to wash their hands on a regular basis, according to Mayo Clinic. In most cases, the doctor observes the low white blood cell count after running diagnostic tests to confirm the nature of an illness that a patient is experiencing. It is rare for a doctor to discover that a patient has a low blood cell count by chance in the absence of an underlying condition's symptoms.
Myelodysplastic syndromes, vitamin deficiencies, Kostmann's syndrome, leukemia and lupus are examples of conditions that can cause leukopenia, as Mayo Clinic reports. Certain medications and therapies, such as antibiotics, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and diuretics, can also cause a patient's white blood cell levels to drop. Some conditions and therapies, such as viral infections and some cancers, cause leukopenia by damaging the bone marrow, while others attack the white blood cells directly.