Neutropenia (Risk of Infection)
White blood cells help protect the body from infection. Chemotherapy causes a low amount of white blood cells in the body. This condition is called neutropenia and it puts the body at a higher risk of getting an infection. When this happens, it is important to avoid infection.
Call the clinic or hospital right away if any of these symptoms occur:
- A fever of 100.5ºF or higher
- A general feeling of flu-like symptoms
- Painful or frequent urination
- Redness, pain, or swelling where the needle goes into a vein (IV site) or where surgery was done
- Shaking or chills
- Sore throat
What patients can do:
- Ask the doctor or nurse for advice before self-treating for hemorrhoids.
- Avoid children who recently have received "live virus" vaccines such as chickenpox and oral polio, since they may be contagious.
- Avoid contact with animal litter boxes and waste, birdcages, and fish tanks.
- Avoid crowds and sick people.
- Avoid standing water (for example, birdbaths, flower vases, or humidifiers).
- Brush teeth after each meal and at bedtime. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles.
- Avoid mouthwashes that contain alcohol or peroxide.
- Check with the doctor or nurse before having dental work done.
- Check with the doctor before getting any immunizations such as flu or pneumonia shots.
- Keep skin clean, and avoid cuts and scratches. Report any changes in skin, including rashes, sores, and cuts.
- Regularly check inside the mouth for white spots on the lips, gums, or tongue. This is a sign of infection.
- Shave with an electric razor.
- Take your temperature regularly. Do not take temperature rectally, which can injure tissues inside the rectum. If there is a fever of 100.5ºF or higher, call the doctor or nurse right away.
- Use moisturizing lotion for dry skin.
- Wash your hands frequently.
- Wear protective gloves when gardening or cleaning up after small children.
- Wear rubber gloves when washing dishes.