Q. I have severe eye infection with increased WBC and neutrophil levels. Can this be due to stress?

Answered by
Dr. Parth R Goswami
and medically reviewed by Dr. Vinodhini. J
This is a premium question & answer published on May 28, 2020 and last reviewed on: Jun 06, 2020

Hello doctor,

I had a CBC (complete blood count) done yesterday and it came back with elevated WBC of 13500, with neutrophils 9000 (more or less), ESR 36, and close to normal lymphocytes. My urine sample was negative. I had a severe eye infection that lasted about 10 days and started clearing up really nicely yesterday. When I had the blood work done, I was crying for an hour due to unrelated massive stress factors. I have severe anxiety and I am going through a rough time, I am hardly ever at ease. I am mentioning this because I read stress can be a factor.

I am worried because my levels are elevated and I show no signs of infection apart from the eye (which still has a little pus). I do not go out due to COVID-19 at all. Food is delivered and handled in a very safe way, packages are disinfected and I have no contact with anyone. I am puzzled as to where an infection could come from. My doctor thinks it is a bacterial infection and has put me on antibiotics. I am very worried about cancer. Should I be?

Dr. Parth R Goswami

Hematology Pathology
#

Hello,

Welcome to icliniq.com.

Following is my opinion for your asked question.

Your total count and neutrophils are elevated. So it could be due to bacterial infection or stress as per provided history. You can complete the course of antibiotics. Meanwhile, try to reduce stress and anxiety by yoga, exercise, breathing exercises, etc.

You can be prescribed anti-anxiety medication for stress. It does not seem to be cancer according to history provided. However, kindly attach your all reports so that I can check it and can give you detailed comments.


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Thank you doctor,

I am currently breastfeeding my toddler so I am very hesitant taking antianxiety medication. I do have the prescription for Zoloft, which I heard is compatible. I am going to try meditation as you suggested, but your answer itself has given me some relief, thank you.

I am wondering, could this raise in WBC be caused by the infection in my eye? I have a little bump under my eyelid and my eyelid was very swollen with lots of pus.

Right now I do not have a copy of my results yet but I am expecting it in the mail soon. The results I have are the ones my doctor gave me over the phone.

Dr. Parth R Goswami

Hematology Pathology
#

Hi,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

Following is my further opinion for your asked question. The elevated WBC count along with neutrophilia is due to eye infection (stye) in your case. Stress can also be responsible. But in your case, the cause seems to be an infection of the eye. The antibiotic will help in combat with bacterial infections. Antibiotic usually kills bacteria. So once your infection subsides your count will go down. So repeat CBC after few days of resolution of infection.

In blood cancer, the total count is usually much high like more than 50000. Your count is not that much elevated. So it does not seem to be cancer. However, kindly attach the reports once done to check the reports. For anxiety, early morning mild exercise useful and behavioral counseling from good psychiatrist can be taken. I hope this helps.


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Thank you doctor,

I will definitely follow your advice. I am very grateful for this website and your fast and informative responses.

Dr. Parth R Goswami

Hematology Pathology
#

Hello,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

Yes, you can send the follow up report as soon as you receive it. I will answer as fast as I can.


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Thank you doctor,

I have been taking my temperature frequently for the past few weeks/months. My oral temperature is between 36.4 in the morning and 37.2 at night. It is high as 37.4 after a lot of stress at night, but this rise does not happen often. Are these values normal?

Dr. Parth R Goswami

Hematology Pathology
#

Hi,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

Following is my opinion for your asked question.

The temperature up to 37.2 can be considered normal. Do not worry about that. Mild elevated temperature like 37.4 sometime could be due to the inflammatory process by eye infection. In infection certain inflammatory mediator releases in the blood which can cause mild fever. You can complete the course of antibiotics. Drink lots of water. Take green leafy vegetables and fruits more to increase immunity.

I hope this helps.


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