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What does "low granulocytes" mean?

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A blood test indicating a low granulocyte count means that a patient has a lower number of certain types of white blood cells, particularly neutrophils, than is normal, according to the Scott Hamilton CARES Initiative. A low number of white blood cells increases a person's vulnerability to infections.

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Granulocytes are one of three major types of white blood cells, and the vast majority in any person's body are neutrophils, says the Scott Hamilton CARES Initiative. The condition of having a low granulocyte count is known as either neutropenia or granulocytopenia. Depending on how low their level is, low granulocyte counts can lead to a very high risk of infection and can also make infections hard to detect. Many of the normal signs of infection, including redness, swelling, pus formation, cough and excessive mucus production, are diminished or absent when there are fewer white blood cells active.

Patients with low granulocyte counts should avoid contact with anyone who is sick, according to the Scott Hamilton CARES Initiative. They should wash their hands frequently, as should those in regular contact with them. Dental work is very dangerous for people with low granulocyte levels. People with granulocytopenia should inform a doctor immediately if they have a fever of over 100.5 degrees Fahrenheit, chills, tremors or sudden unusual pain.

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