Tips For Preventing Infections In Immunosuppressed Cancer Patients
A normal person can handle a rather large number of germs being thrown at them all day long. You’d be amazed at how many millions of germs you come in contact with on a regular basis, but your adult immune system can handle most of them with no problem. They enter your body and nothing happens because your immune system takes care of them before they can do any harm.
When someone is immunosuppressed, however, a common cold germ can be devastating. “Immunosuppressed” refers to someone’s immune system that has been compromised in some way. It can refer to to someone who is currently ill and thus susceptible to further illness, or even an extreme situation, like someone who is HIV positive / afflicted with AIDS. Chemotherapy can also make someone immunosuppressed to the point that avoiding infection is extremely paramount.
The problem lies in just how many germs there are in this world and how easy it is to come in contact with them. For the average person, a minor cut on their hand wouldn’t even require much attention outside of perhaps some hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol to ensure the tiny wound is clean. In someone who is immunosuppressed, however, even the smallest cut can lead to infection.
Using this example, let’s say that someone with a small cut does come in contact with germs that can lead to illness. In the average person, this kind of infection can be very minor and only a slight hindrance, being taken care of by the body’s own immune system in a day or two. For particularly bad infections, some light antibiotics in the form of over the counter drugs or a prescription can be all that’s needed. In a cancer patient on chemotherapy, even a tiny cut can lead to a major infection that requires massive amounts of antibiotics to take care of.