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Wellness Center

Frequent sick teen



My friend gets sick around once a month with a different sickness that puts him in bed for about 4 days straight each month. I am really worried because this is not good for his body to take a different medication each month. I am also worried that there could be something very serious wrong with him. When he is sick he is usually put in bed and cant even get up, he usually gets a high fever and is very weak. It seems like he gets the flu every month. If he does not have a huge sickness taking over him, he is usually sick with something small that only puts him out for one day. Please help and ask me any more questions that could further youre knowledge for my friend thank you!!


You are a good friend to be asking how you can help. It actually sounds a lot like cyclic neutropenia, a condition in which fever and illness recur about every 21 days.

This is due to the protective white blood cell numbers falling and provoking viral-like illness symptoms. About 25-35% of the time, it is a disorder inherited within families. There are medications that can make things better. The only way to diagnose it is to have blood drawn twice a week for 6 weeks trying to catch the rise and fall in white blood cell levels.

There are other illnesses that seem similar to this one in their presentation, some serious, some not. It would be the best thing for your friend to see his doctor and describe his symptoms and their frequency as well as possible. It really is the only way to assure he gets good care and stops missing school days that can take a huge toll on his learning and graduation.

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Response by:

Mary M Gottesman, PhD, RN, CPNP, FAAN Mary M Gottesman, PhD, RN, CPNP, FAAN
Professor of Clinical Nursing
College of Nursing
The Ohio State University