Home Precautions After Chemotherapy

For 48 hours after receiving chemotherapy, patients and caregivers should follow these precautions:

  • Flush toilets twice each time they are used. If possible, patients should use a separate toilet from others in the home. Always wash hands with soap and water after using the toilet.
  • Caregivers must wear gloves when handling the patients’ blood, urine, stool, or emesis. Dispose of the gloves after each use and wash your hands.
  • After using any devices for bodily waste, patients should thoroughly wash their hands and the devices with soap and water. Dry the devices with paper towels, and discard the towels.
  • Any sheets or clothes soiled with bodily fluids should be machine-washed twice in hot water with regular laundry detergent. Do not hand wash. If you cannot wash them right away, place them in a sealed plastic bag.
  • Absorbable undergarments should be placed in sealed plastic bags for disposal.
  • If caregivers accidentally come in contact with bodily fluids, they should wash the area of exposure several times with soapy water and inform their doctors on their next visit. A single exposure may not do much harm, but caregivers should take extra precautions to avoid repeated exposure.
  • Be sure that someone is with the patient, because more help may be needed at those times.
  • Watch for the any sign or symptom listed in the “When to Call Your Doctor” section on your drug sheet(s).

General guidelines for when to call your doctor

  • Any side effect that lasts more than 1 day
  • A fever of 100.4°F or higher, taken by mouth
  • Bleeding
  • Pain or redness at the IV site where the chemo was given
  • Inability to swallow or keep down liquids or your chemo pills