Guidelines for Children at High Risk for Infection
Because of your child's illness and the oncology treatment required, he or she is much more susceptible to infectious diseases. Oncology treatment reduces resistance and the ability to recover from infection is impaired. Some of the infections acquired are unusual and different from those seen with most childhood illnesses.
It's important to recognize and treat infections early, thus increasing the chances for complete recovery. More desirable is to prevent infectious illnesses entirely.
Infectious Disease Guidelines
The following guidelines are provided to help you in caring for your child through the critical periods when resistance to infections is lowered.
Fever should be considered as a sign of infection until proven otherwise. Although fever may occur from other causes, infection is by far the most frequent cause. Fever may be the only symptom of early infection. Inform your local doctor or your oncology doctor or nurse immediately.
Oral Temperature: 101° F (or 38.3° C)
Some Signs and Symptoms of Infections:
- Rapid breathing
- "Runny nose"
- Loose, watery stools (diarrhea)
- Stomach pain
- Headache and inability to bend neck forward
- Blisters, rash, ulcers of the skin or mouth
- Sore throat
- Ulcerations or pain around the rectum
- Contact with anyone having signs of symptoms of infection.
- Crowds of people. Bacteria and viruses carried by healthy people may cause infection in the high-risk child. Crowds of people in close quarters offer greater chance for exposure.
- Public swimming pools. Ask your oncology doctor or nurse if you child may go swimming. Pools with chlorinated water are safer than lakes, rivers and other natural bodies of water.
- Very close contact with wild or non-domestic animals. Animals have and transmit infections. Make sure pets are healthy before your child plays with them. Dogs and cats should be evaluated by a veterinarian, dewormed regularly, immunized for distemper and rabies on a regular basis.
** Birds and reptiles especially turtles, may transmit contagious diseases.
- Chickenpox or shingles (herpes zoster)
- Rubella (German, 3-day measles)
- Hepatitis ("yellow jaundice")