How to Prevent Infections During Chemotherapy How to Prevent Infections During Chemotherapy
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Cancer patients who are treated with chemotherapy are more likely to get infections through everyday activities with their family and friends, or from health care settings. One out of every 10 cancer patients who receives chemotherapy gets an infection that requires a hospital visit.

Preventing Infections in Cancer Patients is a comprehensive program focused on providing information, action steps, and tools to help reduce the risk of developing potentially life-threatening infections during chemotherapy treatment.

How to Prevent Infections During Chemotherapy

Watch out for fever. If you get a fever during your chemotherapy treatment, it’s a medical emergency. Take your temperature any time you feel warm, flushed, chilled, or not well. If your temperature is 100.4°F (38°C) or higher for more than one hour, or 101°F (38.3°C) or higher for any length of time, call your doctor right away.

Clean your hands. You and anyone who comes around you, including all members of your household, your doctors, and nurses, should clean their hands frequently. Don’t be afraid to ask people to clean their hands.Use soap and water to wash your hands. If soap and water aren’t available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Know the signs and symptoms of infection. During your chemotherapy treatment, your body may not be able to fight off infections like it used to. Call your doctor right away if you notice any signs or symptoms of an infection.

If You Think You Have an Infection

Call your doctor right away, even if this happens in the middle of the night. This is considered an emergency. Don’t wait until morning. Keep your doctor’s phone numbers with you at all times