Lifespan Cancer Institute


While you're receiving chemotherapy, watch for signs of infection. Some kinds of chemotherapy lower the number of white blood cells, which fight infection in your body.

What to do:

  • Have your blood work done as soon as it's ordered.
  • Monitor your temperature as instructed by your doctor or nurse.
  • Please call if you have a fever over 100 degrees. Do not take any medicine unless instructed to do so by your doctor.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water.
  • Always wash your hands after touching pets.
  • Use sanitizing wipes to clean surfaces before touching things such as grocery carts handles.
  • Avoid people who are sick, and crowds.
  • Check your body for signs of infection, paying close attention to your eyes, nose, mouth, skin, genital and rectal areas.
  • Clean cuts right away and apply antiseptic. Be careful not to cut or nick yourself. Do not squeeze or scratch pimples.
  • Wear protective gloves when doing household activities like gardening or washing dishes.
  • Do not use enemas or suppositories unless instructed by your doctor or nurse.

Please call your doctor or nurse right away if you think you have an infection, or have any of the following symptoms:

  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Chills
  • Cough
  • Stiff neck
  • Headache
  • Eye drainage
  • Sinus pain or pressure
  • Painful or frequent voiding
  • Fever
  • Any other unusual symptom