Infection Alert! What Cancer Patients Need to Know…

Infection Alert! What Cancer Patients Need to Know…

 

Cancer and chemotherapy can weaken your body’s immune system and it’s ability to protect itself from infection.  Any type of infection, even a minor one, can become serious quickly.  In fact, one out of every 10 cancer patients who receive chemotherapy get an infection that requires a hospital visit.

 

If you have ANY of these systems, call your doctor immediately, even if this happens in the middle of the night.  This is considered an emergency so don’t wait until morning.

* a fever above 100.5 degrees (orally)

* sudden chills

* a sore throat

* a cough, shortness of breath or congestons

* Pain or burning when you urinate

* diarrhea or uncontrolled vomiting

* New pain, especially in your back

* redness, swelling, pain and warmth at the site of any injury or an IV site

* abnormal bleeding or bruising

A quick note on preventing infection:  Wash your hands often with soap and warm water.  Don’t be afraid to ask people you come in contact with to wash their hands… family, friends, visitors, even doctors and nurses.  If soap and water aren’t available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

 

(Sources:  CDC; Living With Cancer magazine-winter 2013; HealthMonitor.com)

 



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