Did you know that one of the most dangerous side effects of chemotherapy is very common, cannot be seen, and puts patients at a higher risk for getting a potentially deadly infection?
People receiving chemotherapy are at risk for developing an infection when their white blood cell count is low. This condition, called neutropenia, is common after receiving chemotherapy. White blood cells are the body’s main defense against infection. For patients with this condition, any infection can become serious quickly.
In an article in Everyday Health, 10 Things Every Cancer Patient Should Know About Chemo, Dr. Lisa Richardson explains how cancer patients can help prevent infections.
“If you’re only going to remember one thing from this article, this is the one I want you to remember: If you spike a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher, call your doctor immediately,” she says.
CDC offers the following resources as part of its Preventing Infections in Cancer Patients program:
- Basic Infection Control and Prevention Plan for Outpatient Oncology Settings. [PDF-1.7MB]
- PreventCancerInfections.org, a Web site for cancer patients and caregivers.
- Educational materials for patients, caregivers, and doctors.