Coping With the Side Effects of Chemo
Nerve damage: Certain drugs may damage nerves, leading to tingling or burning sensations or numbness and weakness in fingers or feet. This is usually temporary.
What you can do: Be sure to tell your healthcare provider about your symptoms. You may need a different drug or a treatment break.
Sunburn: Many types of chemotherapy increase your sensitivity to the sun.
What you can do: Avoid sun exposure during your chemotherapy and wear protective clothing.
Neutropenia: Chemo can cause white blood cells to plummet to abnormally low levels, a condition called neutropenia. Since white blood cells fight off infections, there is a period of risk when you could get a blood infection.
What you can do: Wash your hands often, stay away from sick people and avoid procedures, dental work and vaccinations—all of which can increase your risk. If you do notice any signs of infection, including fever, chills and aches, report them immediately. If you have “flu” symptoms at the time of your lowest blood counts (usually between days 7 and 14 after chemo), with temperature >101° F, go to an emergency room if you can’t reach your doctor. Tell them you have a fever and are on chemotherapy.