Chemotherapy Safety Precautions

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Chemotherapy is one of the best treatment options for killing cancer known today. Though this may be the case, it is important to understand that the reason that it works is that the chemicals in the cure are very toxic. These toxins not only attack the cancer, they can also make anyone who comes into contact with them sick as well. This can happen via bodily fluids, including sweat, blood, urine and the inevitable vomit that comes with treatment side effects. Here are some ways to keep your family safe when undergoing chemotherapy treatement:

Rubber Gloves
When it comes to touching anything that has come in contact with bodily fluids, gloves are your friend. This includes gathering laundry, cleaning surfaces that were touched by your body fluids like toilets. Toilet lids should be kept closed when flushing to avoid splashes. This is especially true when it comes to cleaning soft surfaces like carpets and upholstery that is vomited upon, as skin contact will be essentially a mild dose of chemo for the cleaner. Rubber gloves that touch anything that came from you should be sealed in ziploc bags and disposed of as hazardous waste. On the same note, when your are cleared for sexual intercourse, you will likely be required to wear a condom for some time.

Keep it Separate
Your laundry should not mingle with that of others. It should be kept in a different hamper and should be done in its own load. If you share a bed, linens should be done in your load.

Medication Care
Chemotherapy medications should not be kept with your other medicines in places like pill organizers. They cannot be cut, crushed or broken, and gloves should be worn when handling them. If medication spills onto your skin, run cold water on the area for several minutes and wash with soap.

Ask Questions
Drugs come in many forms and chemical choices, and each of them have their own specific risks and absorption abilities. It's a good idea each time that your medications change or new questions come up to ask. The medical providers involved with your treatments have a lot of knowledge about what kinds of problems are common and unusual, and have a good handle on home routines and solutions that other patients have found to address their own concerns.

If you have questions, you don't need to wait for your next treatment to find answers. Not only can you get solutions by calling into your doctor, you can also find answers in support groups both in person and online. No matter how unusual your problem seems, if you are willing to open and ask about the best precautions to take, there is a willing community dedicated to help you find answers.

Cite this page: N., Sam M.S., "Chemotherapy Safety Precautions," in, January 10, 2016, (accessed August 11, 2022).