John Flynn Private Hospital
Part of Ramsay Health Care

Information when you are at home

Make sure you drink 2 to 3 litres of fluid per day if possible to ensure that you assist in flushing the chemotherapy from your body and protecting your kidneys.

Lowered blood counts or reduced immunity

Chemotherapy cannot distinguish between a normal or cancer cell. Your blood cells which include your red cells, white cells and platelets are just some of the normal cells that are affected by chemotherapy. Red cells are responsible for carrying oxygen around your body, white cells fight infection and platelets help stop bleeding.

Approximately 7 - 14 days after receiving chemotherapy you will be at a higher risk of contracting infection, which if left untreated can become severe.

What to do

  • Purchase a digital thermometer.
  • Check your temperature daily.
  • Commence mouth care.
  • Take a bath or shower daily.
  • Protect your skin with sunscreen, moisturiser if skin is dry and use electric shaver instead of razor.
  • Clean your bottom area gently.
  • Wash your hands often and with extra care, especially before preparing meals, eating and after using the bathroom.

Handwashing should include:

  • Before and after eating.
  • Before handling food, i.e. preparation.
  • Before and after the toilet.
  • Soap and water are fine to use when washing your hands.

Things to avoid during chemotherapy

  • Crowds and people with colds and infections.
  • Cuts or tears in nail cuticles.
  • Squeezing or scratching pimples.
  • Immunisation shots, unless you check with your doctor.
  • Excessive sunlight. Make sure you wear adequate 30+ sunscreen (slip, slop and slap). Try to avoid the hottest part of the day.

Some situations that may require admission to hospital

Fever/infection – temperature of 38 degrees or above.

If temperature is below 38 degrees but above 37.5, ring the hospital on (07) 5598 9064 for advice.

  • Flushed appearance, chills, sweating and shivering.
  • Frequency/urgency to pass urine, or pain on urination.
  • Red swollen, discharging lesions.
  • Abdominal pain or any other pain troubling you.
  • Severe diarrhoea/constipation.
  • Cough or shortness of breath.
  • Blocked or running nose, sneezing and head cold symptoms.
  • Disturbed vision and/or severe headaches.
  • Allergic reactions such as swelling of eye lids, face, hands, feet or hives/rash.
  • Mouth ulcers or other breaks in the skin.
  • Persistent nausea/vomiting especially if unable to take fluids.
  • Excessive bruising/bleeding.
  • Nose bleeds pink/red.
  • Brown urine.
  • Obvious blood in bowel motions or black motions.
  • Vomiting blood or brownish fluid

Monitor all your side effects using the grading scale and contact the doctor when indicated.