Keep Yourself Safe From Infections

When Dealing With Cancer

14th August 2019, Jenni Allan, Freelance Author

Cancer is the fourth leading cause of death in Malaysia, with a 61 per cent death rate among cancer patients. Infections are one of the most common complications for cancer patients because chemotherapy weakens the body’s immune system. To prevent becoming part of the statistic, it’s important for cancer patients to be cognisant of what goes into their body as well as what’s in their surroundings. Apart from strengthening your body with a nutrient-dense diet, here are some of the ways you can avoid infections when you have cancer.   

> Maintain Hospital-Like Cleanliness At Home

In the same way that hospitals are kept clean and sterile, you should keep your home as sanitised and hygienic as possible. You know that hospitals are always properly maintained to prevent you from further getting sick. Your home should strive to have the same level of cleanliness so that you can avoid infections while undergoing treatment. Keeping a clean home means regularly vacuuming floors, dusting cabinets and other furniture, deep-cleaning the toilets and washing the dishes, among other things. Cancer patients are often weak due to chemotherapy so it’s better to have someone help with the household chores, whether its a family member or a cleaning service.  

> Practise Good Hygiene 

Another way to prevent infections when you have cancer is to practise good hygiene. Remember to wash your hands regularly with soap and water to avoid the spread of bacteria. Take a shower every day and make sure that all areas are properly cleaned. It’s also important to brush your teeth often to prevent bacteria from accumulating in the mouth. If you have to do kitchen or garden work, make sure to wear disposable gloves and protective shoes. For those with dry skin, make sure to put on a gentle moisturiser so that you are less likely to develop cuts on your body.

> Limit Crowd Exposure

Unlike at home where you can control your environment, the outdoors can be very unpredictable. You meet all kinds of people in public and you can’t be certain who among them is sick or has an infection. So, as much as possible, you have to limit exposure to crowds to prevent infections when you have cancer. Avoid crowded malls or parks and don’t swim in public pools or natural waterways. If you really need to go outside, make sure you are wearing a mask to avoid inhaling germs and other irritants. Use an alcohol-based sanitiser to keep your hands clean as well. On a similar note, visitors coming into your house should also wear masks in case they are sick and/or have an infection.

> Monitor Your Condition Daily

It’s also important to regularly monitor your condition. If you are becoming feverish or starting to feel some swelling in your body, it’s best to immediately seek medical care. Being proactive in this case is much better than developing an infection, which could lead to more serious illnesses. Make sure you are also updated on your vaccines and take vitamins or supplements if recommended by your doctor. Lastly, watch out for any cuts and bruises that might develop and make sure to adequately treat the area as soon as possible.

Chemotherapy is the most common treatment for cancer. Unfortunately, as your body is fighting cancerous cells, the healthy cells are also affected; thus increasing your risk for infections. To improve your chances at recovery, it’s important to avoid infections while you have cancer. Keeping yourself safe from infections is all about monitoring what goes in and out of your body, as well as having clean surroundings. With these helpful tips, we want to help you avoid further complications that may arise due to infections.