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Recurrent infections : a symptom of something more serious?

As frustrating as it can be, the occasional illness, like a cold or flu, is perfectly normal. However, a string of recurrent infections that take longer to recover from can be a symptom of an underlying health issue. It may not necessarily be anything serious but it’s definitely a good idea to get it checked out.


Recurrent infections may be a symptom associated with leukaemia, a type of cancer that affects the blood and bone marrow. In this post, we’ll take a closer look at recurrent infections, potential causes and the link to leukaemia.


Recurrent infections: a potential symptom of leukaemia

Leukaemia is a type of cancer affecting the blood and bone marrow. It leads to the over-production of abnormal, cancerous white blood cells. This stops the body creating normal blood cells, which are vital for fighting infection.


When our natural defences are low, we can become more susceptible to falling ill – which is why recurrent infections can be a symptom of leukaemia.


Other leukaemia symptoms

Recurrent infections are just one of the common symptoms of leukaemia. Other key signs to look out for include:


- Extreme fatigue: because of how leukaemia affects the production of normal blood cells, it limits the amount of oxygen that reaches our body’s tissues, causing overwhelming fatigue that doesn’t get better with rest, hydration or lifestyle changes

- Unexplained bruising: leukaemia can affect platelet production, which is responsible for blood clotting. This can result in bruises that seem to appear without reason. It can also cause unusual bleeding, like nose bleeds, bleeding gums and very heavy periods


If you’re getting a lot of infections that take longer to recover from, alongside other symptoms like unexplained bruising and extreme fatigue, it’s something worth taking note of and getting checked out by your GP or healthcare professional. What to do if you’re worried about the number of infections you’re getting

If you’re getting recurrent infections with no apparent cause, and it takes longer to get better, as well as being accompanied by other symptoms, like extreme fatigue and unexplained bruising, you should contact your doctor immediately to request a blood test.


Early detection and proper and timely care saves lives when it comes to leukaemia, so it’s vital to address any concerns you’ve got as soon as possible.


Find your local GP.


And find out more about other leukaemia symptoms.

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