Infection prevention

Cookie47Cookie47 Member Posts: 6
I am 10 dayz into my first chemotherapy treatment. So far so good. A bit of nausea and tiredness but not as bad as I expected although I know its early days.
My query is about preventing myself from getting infections from other people. I have two young grandchildren, 5 and 6, and kiddies can be well in the morning and have a raging fever at night. Obviously I want to spend time with my grandchildren and we have been reinforcing about washing hands and covering mouth if coughing but they are walking germ factories.
How did other women handle this aspect of treatment. I have been debating whether to buy some surgical masks to wear around them but dont want to seem paranoid. My breast cancer nurse told me to live a normal life and just to stay away from people with obvious ailments, but kids get sick so quickly.
Any advice would be appreciated.


  • AfraserAfraser MelbourneMember Posts: 1,634
    Like so many things with cancer treatment, experiences differ. The only infection I got during treatment was from myself - I had a persistent seroma and a pool of nice, nutrient rich fluid is heaven for the bad bugs we all have internally. Nothing else. But I agree, kid germs are shared with such ease and the adult always ends up being more sick than they are! I'm afraid you may just have to be particularly careful or distant if they are obviously germy. But you may find you are more resistant than you imagine. Best wishes.
  • AllyJayAllyJay Member Posts: 346
    Hi there @Cookie47 , I had febrile neutropenia and was hospitalised after each cycle of the AC chemotherapy. I also became very worried about infections, also having a grandson who was about 1 1/2 at the time and is now almost a year older. As you say, a walking germ factory. Between my repeated hospital admissions for the neutropenia, anaemia, rashes and heaven knows what else, I became VRE colonised, and then also superbugs. Thanks very much.....(unnamed) Hospital!!One of the specialists I saw during this shitfest, was the head of infectious diseases. He advised me to always wear pants with pockets and get a bumbag so I didn't use a handbag over the arm or shoulder. This was so that I always kept my hands in my pockets when going out. He told me that I was more at risk from escalator rails, supermarket trolley handels, lift buttons and so on than my beloved grandson. He told me that the problem would be me inadvertantly touching a contaminated surface, then either rubbing my eyes, or nose, or touching my mouth. I kept a small bottle of hand sanitiser in my pocket, as well as plenty of tissues. I used my elbows to steer trolleys as well as to push lift buttons. The main thing was to wash my hands very frequently and to keep them away from my face.
  • primekprimek Broken HillMember Posts: 4,419
    My first round I was very careful between days 10 to 14 and I was away as it was my son's birthday and I wasn't going to miss it. We were on country roads with srop toilets, dodgy eating areas etc. I took toilet and hand wipes and had hand sanitiser. I ate out of cans baked beans etc on trip down. 

    2nd round of course I had the white cell booster injection so much less risks.

    Whilst my neutrophils had plummeted to below 0.5 I never got sick. 

    I avoided supermaket shopping in those risky times or took someone who touched the trolley. But also we've  all got into the habit of cleaning the trolley diwn with sanitiser wipes now. My family had really awful colds twice during my chemo. All 4 of them. Sonehow I managed to not get any of it. (I often wondered if the chemo killed off the dividing cells) I went to public pools with no issues outside days 10 to 14.  I frequently went out for coffee etc but chose the place carefully. 

    I was told most infections come from within not external with neutropenia. So I just clubg onto tbat. Each cycle I felt like I was getting the flu. Sore neck nodes, aching skin. But it was all related to having the chemo and the body responding. Bever progressed. Kath x
  • LMK74LMK74 BrisbaneMember Posts: 749
    I was really paranoid lol about catching anything that could potentially delay treatment. I basically hardly went out at all. People with even a hint of something were banned from coming around. I carried hand sanitizer everywhere. My brother was actually more of a risk to my health through treatment as hygiene just isn't on his agenda due to schizophrenia and we live together. I think pure luck got me through without getting sick.
  • melclaritymelclarity Member Posts: 3,078
    @Cookie47 definitely sounds like a valid point...however....I had the same dilemma in that I work with special needs children. At the time I was in a multi faceted intellectual disability school. I told my Oncologist and was concerned of getting very ill due to the kids always being sick. He said absolutely not, that I had more chance of getting sick from going to the supermarket. I thought it odd...but he was right. As long as you wash your hands and make sure the kids wash theirs and cough into their sleeves, you should be absolutely fine. Hugs Melinda 
  • Brenda5Brenda5 Burrum Heads, QldMember Posts: 2,021
    I swear by Stepsils. I got no infections while on chemo and after the first dose I had zero resistance. Years ago when I showed dogs at the Brisbane ekka, my kids and I would always suck a strepsils before we went any where near the showbag pavilion which was an enclosed area packed full of people. We never got sick except for one year when we forgot the Strepsils and we all ended up with the flu.
  • viking1viking1 Perth, Western Australia, NORMember Posts: 283
    I did the whole OCD hygiene bit and stayed away from people during the nadir time.  Still ended up with febrile neutropenia twice on chemo 3 then chemo 4.  Despite tests they found no bugs in my system.  It's a crapshoot.  I think you can only do your utmost to protect yourself and then cross your fingers.
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