Preventing Infections With Cancer Patients
It is estimated that approximately 60,000 cancer patients are hospitalized every year in the United States with infections. While some types of cancers can weaken the immune system and put patients at higher risk of infection, in many cases it is the cancer treatment itself that predisposes patients to infections. For example, undergoing chemotherapy can reduce the number of infection-fighting white blood cells in the body.
Life with cancer is challenging enough without having to deal with a serious infection. When a cancer patient develops an infection, it can make his or her cancer treatment more complicated by delaying therapy. This is because an infection must be eradicated before another cycle of radiation therapy or chemotherapy can be done or prior to any surgical procedure that has been planned and scheduled. To help prevent infection during cancer treatment, patients can do the following:
Be Alert: Watch for any warning signs of an infection such as fever, fatigue, coughing or diarrhea. Keep lacerations and surgical scars clean and watch for any swelling or redness.
Practice Good Hygiene: Wash your hands often and keep your fingernails short and clean. It is also important to keep your home clean.
Avoid Places Where Many People Gather: Stay away from large crowds to avoid being near people who may be sick.
Stay Updated with Vaccinations: Make sure all your immunizations are up-to-date.
Eat a Healthy Diet & Stay Hydrated: Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet and do not share food, drinking glasses or utensils with others. Avoid eating raw or undercooked foods and only eat and drink pasteurized dairy products and juices. Be sure to drink at least eight glasses of water each day to stay well-hydrated.
Practice Good Oral Hygiene: Be sure to brush and floss your teeth well every day and see your dentist regularly for checkups and professional cleanings.
Avoid Injuring Yourself: Use caution to avoid cuts, sores, burns and other irritations and injuries. Use an electric razor and be careful when using sharp objects like knives or scissors.
Do Not Handle Animal Waste: Avoid handling animal waste found in places like litter boxes, bird cages or fish tanks.
Avoid Contact with Stagnant Water: Do not come into contact with stagnant water found in places like ponds, bird baths, vases, humidifiers and denture cups.
Reduce Stress: Try to stay as active as possible and find ways to drop stress levels like practicing relaxation techniques and meditation.
Do Not Overdo It: Stay as active as you can, but rest when you feel tired.
Contact Northeastern Nevada Radiation Oncology Center
By following these tips, you can reduce your chances of developing an infection which could delay your cancer treatment. If you have any questions about your treatment or how you can safeguard your overall health while you undergo radiation therapy, please do not hesitate to contact us as we’re always happy to speak with you!