Keep Healthy During Chemo

Health Monitor Staff
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It’s the No. 1 way to make sure you get the right dose of chemo at the right time. And that, in turn, helps your chemo treatments destroy as many cancer cells as possible.

So take these steps to stay healthy and feel your best throughout treatment.

Eat well.
Focus on fruits, vegetables, lean protein, legumes, whole grains and healthy fats. Drink plenty of water, too—it will help your body process the chemo drugs and prevent constipation.

Stay active.
Aim for 150 minutes of exercise a week. A combination of aerobic and resistance exercises can help boost your immunity, fight fatigue and make your treatment more effective.

Avoid germs.
Chemo lowers levels of white blood cells, the body’s main infection fighters. So wash your hands frequently, stay away from sick people and never share food, drinks and utensils.

Practice good oral hygiene.
Chemo can cause mouth sores, which can become infected. Inspect your mouth daily for sores, and brush gently using a soft-bristled toothbrush after each meal.

Know the warning signs.
Infection can stall your chemo schedule. If you develop any of these signs of an infection, contact your healthcare provider immediately:

  • fever above 100.5° F orally, sudden chills: If your temperature is above 101° F for more than 2 hours go to an emergency room and tell them you are on chemotherapy with a fever. Be especially cautious between days 7 and 14 after chemotherapy. Although it may feel like “the flu,” your low white blood count can make you especially susceptible to overwhelming bacterial infection in the bloodstream and getting antibiotics started at once can be lifesaving.
  • sore throat
  • new cough or shortness of breath
  • nasal congestion
  • pain or burning when you urinate
  • diarrhea or uncontrolled vomiting
  • new onset of pain, especially in your back
  • redness, swelling, pain and warmth at the site of an injury or an IV site
  • abnormal bleeding or bruising
May 2013