• Risk of infections?

    Asked by nancyjac on Monday, December 12, 2011

    Risk of infections?

    So the oncologist discussed compromised immune system, low WBC, risk of infection. Now my adult daughter who is living with us seems to have come down with something. She is running a fever, generally flu like stuff. Has anybody gotten an infection during chemo and what was the outcome? What do I need to do to protect myself from infection while she is sick?

    22 Answers from the Community

    22 answers
    • leepenn's Avatar
      leepenn

      YES - you do need to protect yourself. From what I've researched, the number one thing is to have everyone wash hands frequently... or get some of that foam type stuff they have at hospitals.

      So far, I've had one cold on chemo, and it sucked.

      Did your team give you instructions about monitoring your temp etc...? If you have a fever above 100.4 deg F, then you are meant to get yourself to the clinic / ER asap. With us, infections can move FAST, and we do need to be careful.

      I have a nine year old, and we have been instituting careful hand washing in our house. I also have him use the disinfectant hand foam. And I also use the foam myself. In my office, I ask everyone to foam in, unless I KNOW my infection fighters are in strong force (i.e., have a recent blood report telling me that my blood is thick). Also, in class, I ask my students to foam in. No one seems to mind. In fact, I've only had one person say, I'm not cool with the foam, but I'll just run down the hall and go wash my hands carefully.... Great - I said - I appreciate that!

      My onc team is telling me to keep away from sick people as much as possible. I'm a professor at a major university, so this is not so easy, right? Plus, I have the germy 9 year old. I love him dearly, but he's a little too free with his germs, if you know what I mean.

      So, my thoughts are that you consider getting some of that hand stuff (personally, I don't like most of them - too smelly).. and get people to wash hands frequently... and keep your adult daughter at an arm's distance but very very close to your heart. Perhaps no hugs/kisses for a few days. It's not easy... but it'd be far worse if you got the flu!

      about 5 years ago
    • mspinkladybug's Avatar
      mspinkladybug

      you should get a shot 24 hr after chemo to help bring ur white cells up. if u run a fever of 100.5 for more then 30 minutes then u r to go to the er and tell them then u get hooked up to Ivs.

      about 5 years ago
    • nancyjac's Avatar
      nancyjac

      I have the hand sanitizer and using it sporadically. Guess I need to be more consistent with that. I did get the shot the day after. My temp is normally lower than 98.6 and right now it's 99.1. I've been taking tylenol as needed the last couple of days for body aches so that might be affecting my temp as well.

      about 5 years ago
    • GregP_WN's Avatar
      GregP_WN

      Twice while going through chemo I landed in the hospital with low wbc. Once had a 105.5 fever, that time I stayed in the hospital for a week taking antibiotics. I wasn't even around anyone sick, it just happened. But true what everyone else says, stay away from sick people, you will get things easier. I just suggest stay in contact with your dr.

      about 5 years ago
    • Elizabeth's Avatar
      Elizabeth

      I haven't got an infection and I am on my third cycle of Chemo. I did however get a fever of 105 degrees without a cause to be found. I just assumed it was because my blood counts dropped quite a bit. I don't ever get fevers much but when I do they are always really high with no cause found roughly 103 but 105 was the highest and the only time I had a fever while on chemo. I always keep hand sanatizer with me and wear a mask when I am around alot of people even when my counts are fine. Can't be too careful especially during flu season.

      about 5 years ago
    • Cath1953's Avatar
      Cath1953

      nacyjac. If you are going though chemo you have to stay away from sick people. white cells go down on there own and you get a fever. I got one onceone my first chemo of102.2 iwent right to the hospitol. I took tylenol before I left and when I got there I was fine. They still checked me and i was fine Cathy1953

      about 5 years ago
    • nancyjac's Avatar
      nancyjac

      Hi Cathy,

      Saw my oncologist on Wednesday and she said exactly the same thing. She put me on an antibiotic for a week just to be on the safe side. Said if at any time my temp hit 101 I had to go to ER.
      My daughter seems to be over her bug but I'm still being more careful in general. My temp has been at or just under normal the last couple of days and that's without any tylenol, so I think I dodged the bullet this time.

      about 5 years ago
    • Cath1953's Avatar
      Cath1953

      nancyjac, I was on a bowling legue and my D.r and nurses and family and friends said stay home.I,m all done with chemo and radiation. Now I still can't bowl because of my bones. The chemo broke my jaw. Cath1953

      about 5 years ago
    • nancyjac's Avatar
      nancyjac

      Wow Cathy. Hadn't heard of that happening. Was the jaw breaking while you were in chemo or afterwards? My bones feel a bit achy and I have to take breaks when I walk. Was especially bad for about 3 days after my neulasta shot when every bone in my body ached.

      about 5 years ago
    • Cath1953's Avatar
      Cath1953

      nancyjac, No, I was just standing in my kitchen reaching for a glass and I heard a big crack and a lot!!!! of pain. Wen to th edentist andI had to go I the hospitol to have the bottom of my teeth that ws 12 weeks ago.9weeks of that was pain. I have to be on a liquid diet.The 23 I go back to him,an this time I hope he tells me when I can get thes wire out. cath1953

      about 5 years ago
    • nancyjac's Avatar
      nancyjac

      Gosh that's awful. Bad enough dealing with the side effects of chemo without something like that happening.

      about 5 years ago
    • Cath1953's Avatar
      Cath1953

      nancyjac I,m getting tired of it that is for sure. i will keep you posted we are going to Aldies,I will wrie again later. Cath1953

      about 5 years ago
    • Cath1953's Avatar
      Cath1953

      HI! Nancyjac, I had antibiotics,mine was for about ten weeks or so I'm still supose to be taking them.I have to go back on them. I just had to take a break, they were nasty on my stomach.
      What I do in the winter time is get those antibacterial wipes and wipe everything down like door knobs dresser knobs.etc. 3or4 times a week. Are you going through chemo or anything. I read other peoples letters too and I forget what they say.

      about 5 years ago
    • nancyjac's Avatar
      nancyjac

      Yes, I had my first chemo on 12/7. Every 3 weeks for another 5 sessions. In the intervening weeks I just get Herceptin because mine is HER2 positive.

      about 5 years ago
    • Cath1953's Avatar
      Cath1953

      HI nancy, Are you feeling ok for th chemo? I was a littlesick to my stomach. My doctor gave me something for it.

      about 5 years ago
    • nancyjac's Avatar
      nancyjac

      I took a medication starting the day before my first treatment and continuing for a couple of days after that did a good job of controlling nausea, although because it is a steroid, it made me a bit wired so I didn't sleep much. I have another medication that is as needed to control nausea that seems to work pretty well too.
      So this first round, I really didn't have any nausea and never threw up, but I did have indigestion, diarrhea,stomach cramps, and some heartburn. I also had about 3 days of all over body aches, but I think that was more from the neulasta shot they gave me the day after chemo than from the chemo itself. This is day 11 of my first cycle and I am finally feeling pretty good again.

      about 5 years ago
    • Cath1953's Avatar
      Cath1953

      Nancy, I'm glad your feeling better. Everyone is diferant. I got the Neaulasta shot. I did,t have body achces or diarihea from chemo. Or was that from the neaulasta? The antibiotics I'm on for my bone infection in my mouth are brutal. The make me sick.Just nausea.I had to take a break they were so bad. The bone break and infection came up at the same time. Not fun.

      about 5 years ago
    • shauna0915's Avatar
      shauna0915

      I would suggest having hand sanitizer available and make EVERYONE use it. Spray doorknobs, handles and other surfaces (remote controls, etc.) with Lysol on a regular basis. Also, keep sanitizing wipes and hand sanitizer with you when you go anywhere (store, doctor, etc.). Have face masks available for yourself should you need them and don't be afraid to ask visitors to use the hand sanitizer (and face masks if you suspect they may have a cold). Because Tylenol is a fever reducer, it could mask an infection so if your temperature goes above 100.5 you need to see your doctor or go to the ER. I know it sucks and seems like over-kill, but that's what we were told to do with my dad. It's for your own safety and it's the best way to protect yourself without living in a plastic bubble.

      I don't know if you already do or not, but it was suggested to my dad that he have a snack during his chemo. It seemed to help him feel less nauseous. He also took Zofran and Omeprazole, both of which were prescribed by his oncologist. To help with his appetite, he was given Marinol.

      I wish you all the best.

      about 5 years ago
    • Cath1953's Avatar
      Cath1953

      shauna0915, I have allready started to wipe everything down. We get a lot of traffic around here so I deffenitly don't want to get sick. I have Zofran and compazine. If Zofran doesn't work well I take the other.Even though I'm done with all my treatments I still get nauseous. I was told the other things you said too. It is hard to eat when you feel good , but I manage to eat a little. I'll have to ask my D.R. about Marinol. I wish you the best too. Cath1953

      about 5 years ago
    • shauna0915's Avatar
      shauna0915

      Cath1953,

      Omeprazole is the same as Prilosec, only prescription strength (40mg instead of 20mg). Phenagren is an anti-nausea medicine that often causes drowsiness, but we called it dad's "low-nausea" med because the Zofran helped more when the nausea was worse.

      Marinol, in common terms, is a "pot pill". It contains THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. It is not cheap, so you would definitely want to check to see if it's covered by your insurance. It helped dad calm down a lot and increased his appetite (pretty much because it causes some of the same side effects as pot...ie: the munchies). It's prescribed and totally legal. I figured I'd better let you know what Marinol really is because I know some people are totally against the use of pot, medical or not. It's personal choice. I just know it helped my dad. <3

      about 5 years ago
    • Cath1953's Avatar
      Cath1953

      shauna0915, I remember getting Prilosec. that was when I had my mouth fixed. I'll stick with my regular nausea medicine.

      about 5 years ago
    • cbutinski's Avatar
      cbutinski

      Both myself and a friend/coworker work for people with disabilities and we continued to work the whole time we went through Chemo, we used proper techniques but it was more for our consumers than for ourselves, we also had families that had colds,flu and other illness and at no time did we get sick from our job or home, in fact I recieved my infection from my hospital stay after surgery.

      over 4 years ago

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