• During chemo I understand that we are more susceptible to get sick

    Asked by Coloman on Monday, December 16, 2019

    During chemo I understand that we are more susceptible to get sick

    But it seems like everywhere I go there are sick sniffling, sneezing, coughing, snotting, people. Kids and adults alike. And I swear it seems like they are coughing right towards me, I know they aren't, but I'm freaking out. What happens if we get sick, develop pneumonia or another serious condition? Chemo stops? For how long? Don't we get worse than the average person would? I have too many questions.

    11 Answers from the Community

    11 answers
    • Julesmom's Avatar
      Julesmom

      In my case it is when the white blood counts drop below a certain level when they hold off on chemo. When you start again depends on how fast your counts recover.

      about 1 month ago
    • cllinda's Avatar
      cllinda

      I went through chemo in the winter, cold and flu season. I was told to stay out of crowds. No shopping, no church, no place where people are sick. I really only went to the hospital and the doctor's office during the winter. And my family made sure no one who had a cold came to visit me. I felt very isolated.
      Because your resistance is low, you would be more apt to get sick. Wash hands often. Wear a mask. Eat as healthy as you can.
      A normal thing like getting a cold can send you to the hospital. And it can delay your chemo. I know I wanted chemo over as fast as possible so I listened to the doctor as much as possible.
      I learned a trick to prevent getting a cold while waiting for knee replacement surgery. Take some antibiotic cream like Neosporin on a Q-tip and rub it in both nostrils. My grandkids both were sick two weeks before I was due for surgery, so I did this several times a day while being with them. I thought for sure I would have to cancel the surgery but I didn't get a cold at all. My doctor had recommended it five days before surgery and I did it for two weeks. It worked.

      about 1 month ago
    • BuckeyeShelby's Avatar
      BuckeyeShelby

      My chemo went from the end of Sept to the end of January,[phone number redacted]. And I worked through treatment. I had a sign posted in my cubical stating that I was immunosuppressed and to stay away if you're sick. I caught a cold 3 weeks after I finished, but I managed to stay healthy throughout chemo. I hope you can sidestep colds and flus, too. Wish I could tell you how I did it. Just LOTS of hand sanitizer. That was the only big concession I made. Good luck!

      about 1 month ago
    • GregP_WN's Avatar
      GregP_WN

      I had to stop chemo a couple of times because my WBC dropped too low. That was before the newer drugs were available to help increase your WBC. I was in the hospital once for a week just taking IV antibiotics. It can be a serious problem. Not as bad these days though

      about 1 month ago
    • JaneA's Avatar
      JaneA

      Your oncology team is monitoring your blood counts, including your white counts. If your white counts (neutrophils to be exact) fall too low (a condition called neutropenia), they will send you home, possibly on antibiotics and ask you to avoid raw fruits and vegetables and rare meat. You'll come back and a week and get retested to see if your neutrophil count has recovered.

      There is a special shot called Neulasta that they may give you to prevent these low neutrophil counts from occurring again.

      Did you get your flu shot this year? Are you old enough to have had your pneumonia vaccine? These are super important for cancer patients to have.

      Try not to worry excessively. Use good judgement. Avoid crowds and sick people. And follow your medical teams recommendations. Best wishes.

      about 1 month ago
    • KB2013's Avatar
      KB2013

      Buy yourself some good medical masks at the drugstore. Pharmacist can tell you which is best. You don't need to get sprayed by a thoughtless hacker, you can get sick touching door knobs at public lavatories or any surface for that matter. Just don a mask and remember to use those wall dispensers each time you enter/exit an exam room. Buy yourself one of those little bottles of hand sanitizer too. Be extra safe while on chemo.

      about 1 month ago
    • Bengal's Avatar
      Bengal

      I remember washing my hands constantly during treatment and it's a habit I've tried to continue. I told people who even thought they might be coming down with a cold to STAY AWAY FROM ME. I washed everything I ate (that was washable). I stayed away from public places as much as possible. I hated the side effects of Neulasta but I managed to get through chemo without any serious illness. Just "be aware and exercise care". You should do fine.

      about 1 month ago
    • Lynne-I-Am's Avatar
      Lynne-I-Am

      While going through chemo, I still got out and about but did take protective measures. I did my shopping early in the mornings when very few people were at the grocery or department stores. . I made sure I used those helpful wipes.the stores provided too, still do. . When I wanted to go to a movie, I waited for several weeks after the movie’s opening and went to the first showing of the day. . Once, I had the whole theatre to myself. I washed my hands frequently and used a sweater or coat sleeve when opening doors ( it was winter time). The only time I wore a mask was when I had a doctor’s appointment during my chemo and when I visited my family at Christmas, since my granddaughter had a cold. Grandma with a mask was quite the attraction.

      about 1 month ago
    • GregP_WN's Avatar
      GregP_WN

      Another thing I notice is that the doctor's office is full of sick people in the lobby. If you weren't sick when you walked in, you will be by the time you leave.

      about 1 month ago
    • cllinda's Avatar
      cllinda

      That is so true, Greg. Doctors offices this time of year are full of sick, hacking people. Don't go unless you really need to, and wear a mask if you can. Wash your hands of use hand sanitizer as soon as you get in the car. And use the paper towel that you used to dry your hands to open the bathroom door. Just little precautions can help keep you healthy during chemo.

      about 1 month ago
    • Coloman's Avatar
      Coloman

      Thank you all for your information. I am trying to stay away from anyone that is sick looking. I've even told some of my family that they couldn't come over.

      about 1 month ago

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