Low Immunity? Reduce Infection Risk During Your Treatment
Cancer treatment can make your immune system work incredibly hard, and with time, it becomes weaker than normal. Unfortunately, that increases your chance that of infection – even if you’re exposed to bacteria that your body could have previously fought off.
However, this does not mean that you should just give up and wait for infection to strike. There are several things you can do on your own that greatly reduce your risk of developing an infection, and this just makes you healthier overall. Read on to find out how to improve your health and immunity during chemotherapy.
Exercise the Right Way
A lot of people stop exercising when they begin treatment for cancer due to a weakened body and a general decrease of energy. However, this can actually make you unhealthier, because your body needs fresh air and regular physical activity – even with a weakened immune system.
Keep in mind that in order to avoid germs as much as possible, it’s necessary to steer clear from crowds when you exercise. Much of the air in gyms is stale and recycled, making it a prime spot for germs. Instead of jogging on a treadmill, take your jog in your neighborhood or in an area that’s clean without a lot of pollution like a park or state recreation area. The fresh air will do your body a world of good.
Avoiding swimming and rehabilitating in hot tubs is also something you should think about, as bacteria levels are often too high to be safe while undergoing cancer treatment. As always, speak with your doctor before beginning an exercise program. While it’s good for your health, intense exercise may just make you more exhausted, so sometimes a leisurely walk is all you need.
Skip the Yard Work
If you’re proud of being self-sufficient and have always enjoyed doing your own yard work or gardening, it may be hard to hear that when receiving treatment for cancer, it’s probably best to put down the rake and let someone else take over. Mold and bacteria present in dead leaves and living organisms isn’t usually harmful, but when you have a compromised immune system, it’s enough to make you sick. Instead of doing your own yard work, get the kids, neighbors, or other family members to help you. You’ll be surprised at how many people are willing to help and your yard may look even better than it ever has!
Be Careful With Your Skin
Sure a little nick on your chin or your leg from shaving doesn’t seem like a big deal, but with a weakened immune system, this is almost like asking infection to take up residence. Even the smallest cut has the potential to make you sick.
Instead of shaving with a razor, try an electric shaver with a guard. If you do any type of woodworking or hobbies where cuts are common, purchase some heavy-duty protective gloves to avoid all those little scrapes you never thought twice about before. The cuts that never bothered you before are now a gateway to any bacteria that comes near your body
Pay Attention to Pet Interaction
Petting your cat or dog isn’t usually a problem just because you’re getting treatment for cancer. The most important part is that you wash your hands afterward, because normal household pets generally have salvia and other potentially problematic bacteria on their fur. To be on the safe side, consider bathing them more often than you normally would to circumvent this bacteria. It’s also wise to avoid doing things like changing the cat’s litter box, replacing newspaper in a birdcage, or picking up after your dog when you go for a walk. Assign those tasks to somebody else while receiving treatment.
Cancer treatment is administered to help you fight off a potentially deadly disease, but in return, it does lower your immune system. That means you need to exercise extra caution with even everyday things that you do – even if this means altering your normal routine for a time. This is only a partial list of things you may need to change to avoid infection. Make sure you talk with your doctor about other ways you can minimize infection during cancer treatment, including proper nutrition
Tara Heath is a freelance writer in Southern California. She knows how important it is to keep up your immunity system as you undergo chemotherapy, and enjoys researching different ways to do this. She contributes health and beauty content to the Bellezza Spa blog, where you can find more of her work.