Alberta Cancer Foundation

Wash Your Hands!

If you are undergoing chemotherapy for cancer, there is something you should know. The drugs in many kinds of chemo are toxic to cancer. But they also knock back your healthy white blood cells, which fight infection. Without them, your system is vulnerable to bacterial and viral infection and its response to these invaders is muted. Ask your health- care provider when your white blood cell counts are likely to be low and when they are likely to have bounced back (usually right before your next treatment). You can plan your germier activities, such as volunteering at kindergarten, accordingly.

It’s natural to worry about infection during treatment but, rather than hand wringing, your best defense is hand washing. Wash your hands often and carry sanitizer in your pocket. Also, it’s OK to remind your family to wash their hands when they get home.