How to Prevent Infection

Health Monitor Staff
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Chemotherapy can save your life. But also in addition to killing cancer cells, it also destroys white blood cells, which protect your body from infection and simple everyday germs. Follow these steps to stay safe and protect yourself.

Socialize with care
--Avoid large crowds, which may include sick people. If you must visit crowded venues like the mall or movie theater, go during less hectic times. --Stay away from people who have a cold, the flu, a sore throat or are vomiting.
--Avoid kids who may have childhood infections like chickenpox.
--If you’re interacting physically with family or friends, ask them to wash their hands.

Stay on top of hygiene
--Bathe daily.
--Regularly wash your hands (especially after handling food, money, waste or animals) with warm water and soap, scrubbing the backs of your hands, between your fingers and under your nails.
--Use hand sanitizer if you don’t have access to soap and water.

Baby your skin
--Dry your skin carefully after showering or bathing.
--Apply lotion daily to prevent cracks in your skin.
--Avoid getting cuts or scrapes, which can be entry points for infection. --Wear gloves during activities that can potentially cause cuts or scrapes like gardening or cooking.
--Use an electric razor instead of a blade to avoid shaving-related cuts.
--If you do get a cut or scrape, apply antibiotic cream and cover with a clean bandage.

Do you have an infection?
Tell us immediately if you have any of the following signs:

  • Swelling, redness or soreness of the skin around an implanted port
  • Mouth ulcers or sores around the rectum or in the throat 
  • Cough 
  • Sore throat 
  • Severe constipation, loose stools or diarrhea for more than 24 hours
  • Fever higher than 100.5°F 
  • Inability to urinate for more than four hours, or painful or frequent urination 
  • Unusual vaginal itching or discharge 
  • Chills
May 2013