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What are neutropenic precautions?

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Neutropenic precautions are steps, such as washing hands frequently and staying away from sick people, that those suffering with neutropenia take to avoid infections, explains Drugs.com. Neutropenia is a condition in which the body does not have enough neutrophils in the blood. Neutrophils are white blood cells that form in bone marrow and help fight off infections.

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People with neutropenia should wash their hands after sneezing, coughing, using the bathroom or engaging in other activities that expose them to germs, such as changing diapers, states Drugs.com. Bathing daily, having someone else clean up after pets, avoiding fresh flowers and not sharing personal items with others are additional neutropenic precautions. Doctors also recommend that people with neutropenia brush their teeth gently twice a day and use stool softeners instead of suppositories or enemas.

Because germs can be on hands, countertops, utensils and food, those with neutropenia should take precautions such as washing countertops and utensils with hot, soapy water, especially after using them for raw meats, fish or poultry, advises Drugs.com. It's also important to keep raw and cooked foods separate in order to prevent cross contamination, such as meat juices intermingling with fruit and vegetables. Other neutropenic precautions include refrigerating food properly and cooking food all the way through.

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