- Hand Washing– The number one way to prevent illness. This not only includes the patient, but those in contact with the patient. Soap and warm water is best but hand sanitizer may be used as well.
- Avoid Crowds – ex: Going to the mall, grocery store, church, or riding the bus. If someone must go out, they should avoid the hours that stores are most crowded.
- Avoid Sick People – even a cold can be serious for a neutropenic patient.
- Avoid Children and Adults who have been recently vaccinated with live vaccines.
- Avoid Injury– Wear gloves when doing housework, use only electric razors for shaving, and use a soft toothbrush when brushing teeth.
- DO NOT USE rectal suppositories, vaginal douches, or tampons if menstruating.
- DO NOT have any invasive procedures– This includes dental work, without speaking with your physician first.
- Take care of your mouth – Follow a strict oral care regimen.
- Avoid Gardening and Yard Work – Dirt can harbor bacteria and fungi that can be harmful to neutropenic patients. This includes lawn mowing or “weed eating.”
- Avoid cleaning the litter box or bird cage – Have someone else do this for you if you are neutropenic.
If the Patient is very neutropenic, meaning the counts are .5 of “500”, the patient’s physician may recommend special dietary measures to prevent the patient from bacteria and other organisms that are found in some foods and drinks.
FOODS TO AVOID ARE:
Uncooked vegetables and fruit (they can have thick skinned fruits such as apples, raw bananas, grapefruit, or oranges that are washed in cold water and peeled by a nurse or family member, or dried frozen fruits), raw rare meats, soft cheeses, cheeses with mold, uncooked or semi-cooked egg, salad bars, fruit bars, fresh deli meats(vacuum packed meats are acceptable), raw nuts, unpasteurized dairy products, yogurt products with live cultures, pasta salad, or potato salad with raw veggies or eggs, colds soups such as gazpacho, buffets and salad bars, and sushi or sashimi.
**Here at Charleston Hematology Oncology Associates we will check labs every time before treatment. If the labs show you may be neutropenic we will let you know. **