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Home Care Post-Chemotherapy

We, at Apollo Hospitals, commit ourselves to provide the best care possible during and beyond your treatment. We understand that the diagnosis of Cancer and the following months of treatment are physically, mentally and emotionally challenging.

We like to equip you with the best practices that would help you take care of yourselves better, at home after your Chemotherapy sessions.

Drugs used in chemotherapy may remain in the body for up to 48 hours after your cycle. Here are some precautions for you and your caregivers:

Please call the emergency number provided by your healthcare team, if:

  • You are concerned with any symptom in particular,
  • There is a fever (any temperature over 100.5 F),
  • You have burning pain when you urinate
  • You have constipation (no bowel movement in 2-3 days)
  • There is bleeding or unusual bruising
  • You have diarrhoea for more than 24 hours
  • You have Nausea/ Vomiting or inability to eat or drink persists for more than 24 hours. Take your anti-nausea medication as prescribed by your medical team.
  • Pain not controlled by your medications
  • Redness, pain or sores in your mouth
  • Unusual cough, sore throat, lung congestion or shortness of breath

Dietary Recommendations Post Chemotherapy:

  1. Eat small portions of food more frequently throughout the day.
  2. Choose to have bland foods over spicier food.
  3. Avoid food that is high in fat as it may be harder to digest.
  4. Try eating foods that seem palatable to you . For instance , you may prefer chilled liquids or more frequent and smaller meals .
  5. Keep yourself hydrated as this will help flush out the byproducts of chemotherapy. Tender coconut water is an excellent source of electrolytes and is highly soothing and beneficial as well.

Oral Care

It is essential to pay attention to maintaining good oral health as well. Post chemotherapy, you may experience dryness in the mouth which could cause sores in the mouth. It creates an ideal environment for increased bacterial growth in your mouth. These bacteria can cause an infection in your mouth, which can then spread to other parts of your body.

What can you do to prevent this?

  1. Brush your teeth at least twice a day. Make sure you rinse your mouth thoroughly after every meal.
  2. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles.
  3. Use a toothpaste with fluoride in it.
  4. Massage your gums after brushing. It helps in improving circulation to the gums and preventing gingivitis.
  5. Do not use mouth rinses with alcohol in them. Your doctor will prescribe a suitable mouth rinse for you.
  6. Avoid sugary foods/drinks.

Care of Dentures/ Braces/ Other prostheses

  • Only use your dentures while eating. Follow this, especially during the first 3 to 4 weeks after your chemo. Constant wear could result in mouth sores.
  • Brush your dentures after every meal and rinse them thoroughly.
  • Soak your dentures in an antibacterial solution after use.

Other information that you should be aware of, include:
Other things you can do to stay healthy include:

  • If you have been sent home with a Central line/ PICC line for necessary IV medications at home, be aware of how to care for it.
  • Keep yourself active, the best way you can. Go for walks and get some fresh air. Gradually increase the distance you cover and the duration of your stroll.
  • Avoid crowded places and always wear a mask to prevent contracting any possible infections from others.
  • Have food rich in proteins to maintain a steady and healthy weight throughout the period of chemotherapy
  • Avoid going out in the sun and when you do, be sure to wear sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher on any exposed skin.
  • Do not consume alcohol or Smoke.

How can you protect yourself against infections?

Chemotherapy suppresses your immunity, but this can be balanced by being extra cautious by adopting the following practices:

  1. Favour home-cooked meals. Avoid eating out as much as possible.
  2. Avoid uncooked food.
  3. Eat freshly cooked food every day. Avoid refrigerated food.
  4. Drink clean and safe water. Drink boiled water that is cooled and stored safely for your consumption
  5. Wash your hands every time you touch surfaces that may be unclean/ after being outdoors/after using the bathroom and, most importantly, before meals.
  6. Avoid crowds. A stroll in open areas such as the beach or a garden is advisable.
  7. Do not go anywhere without wearing a facemask.
  8. Be careful around your pets as they may cause infections/allergies during the span of chemotherapy.
  9. Try staying in a dust-free environment as much as possible.
  10. Make sure you ask your doctor about any vaccines that you may require.
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