I had my blood drawn and my WBC came back

Patient

Q: I had my blood drawn and my WBC came back low. It was a 3.5. My doctor says he wants to redraw in a month. What is the reason behind waiting a month and why doesn't he want to redraw sooner.

Symptoms:  Pain on right side under my ribs. Nasueated and diarrhea. Did a gallbladder scan andultrasound and both came back normal.
Doctor

A:   Hello. Welcome to Ask The Doctor. We are here to help you.

Low WBC counts indicates that your body's immunity to fight with infection is low. As WBC represents the body's response to fight infection so it's definitely low in your case.

Now most commonly low WBC are found in cases of Viral infection that could be any from the thousands of viruses. So just a common cold can cause you low WBC count. So his idea is to let you recover from the Viral infection and get the repeat WBC count. In case after a month it is again low then you would require evaluation of the cause and for that you would require a bone marrow examination to see whether there is any issue in the formation of WBC or its like that they are being produced but are not able to sustain.

You would also be tested for HIV and Hepatitis B and C in case your WBC remains low after a month.
You can also get a repeat WBC count after 2 weeks as it will also give you the idea. I hope it helps you.

If you have any further query, please ask me.
Stay healthy.

Comments / Follow Ups

Patient: Okay, thank you. Is it common for a cold to drop my WBC that low? I didn't have a fever before I got it drawn or after so I don't think it was viral. I am 28 and this is the first time I have been told I have a low WBC and I have had strep and other viruses.
Doctor: Hello, yes WBC can drop transiently in any Viral infection.
So getting a repeat WBC after a few weeks will give you a right answer.
Good luck.

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