MDS is a bone marrow failure disorder
Fever and Infections

Fever may be a result of infections or may be a side effect of certain chemotherapy agents used to treat MDS. The Absolute Neutrophil Count (ANC) is used to determine your risk of infection.  Guidelines for activities while neutropenic are related to the risk of being exposed to people or things that would increase the chance of developing an infection. Ask your health care providers when you should report a fever, who to call and when you might need emergent treatment.  It is essential to treat MDS patients with fevers quickly to avoid the possibility of developing more serious infections.

Things you can do:

  1. Keep a log of symptoms that you are concerned about. These can be tracked in the MDS Manager Symptom Tracker.  Discuss these with your health care team.
  2. Record and track your blood counts, including the WBC and Absolute Neutrophil Count (ANC) and any symptoms including fevers, chills, or infections. You can use the MDS Manager to keep track of your counts and your temperature.
  3. Keep all your appointments as scheduled.
  4. Notify your health care team immediately for any fever ≥101.4°F or 38.5°C or shaking chills at any body temperature
  5. Have a working thermometer at home. Discuss which type of thermometer is best for you to use with your health care team.
  6. Avoid people who are obviously ill, avoid crowded enclosed places when your counts are low, maintain a healthy lifestyle. This does not mean that you can’t go out, just avoid close contact with individuals who are ill.
  7. Wash your hands frequently. Carry hand sanitizer. Use it in public places.
  8. Talk with your health care providers about what immunizations are right for you.
  9. Stay hydrated.

Additional Resources:

MDS Foundation:

Cancer Care: Neutropenia

Cancer Care: Infections:  Infection:

Oncolink: Neutropenia:

Review answers to commonly asked questions or get answers to your questions from an MDS expert