Are we vulnerable to viruses while on chemo?

JanJan63 Member Posts: 2,478 Member

I know our immune systenm is low but I'm not sure it's the same with all chemos? Maybe some are worse than others for that? I'm on Vectibix and when I see my onc she always stresses that I'm sun sensitive and to be careful but hasn't said anything about low immunity issues.

My husband has been battling a stomach bug that he finally was scanned for yesterday and they think it's a virus. He's usually very supportive but he didn't ask the doctor if I need to worry or if we should be extra careful about disinfecting things like taps or doorknobs or anything like that. When I aske dhim if he'd asked he got all snarky and said maybe he should move out until he's better and crap like that so I don't have an answer. I'd asked him to ask the doctor when he got the call but he forgot. I just left a message at the doctor's to ask myself so I'm waiting to hear back. They don't know what the virus is or even if it is for sure.

What would you do in the meantime? I have a few ideas of precautions but there might be something obvious I'm not thinking of. Or are viruses something that's not easily transferred?




  • NHMike
    NHMike Member Posts: 213 Member
    My son had the flu which

    My son had the flu which turned into a lung infection around the time of my diagnosis and I took him to the clinic to get a prescription for a Z-Pack. That cleared him up in about a week. My wife caught the flu from him around that time. So basically I had to avoid both of them while they were showing symptoms. I didn't catch the flu myself but that was only by being fairly careful. I am generally avoiding people and washing my hands a lot when I have to touch a lot of things like doorknobs. I have a box of surgical masks on the dining room table in case I have to go somewhere where there are a lot of people. I'm also trying to ensure enough rest so that I don't catch anything.

  • benben
    benben Member Posts: 6
    If your blood counts are whack - YES

    Hi JanJan,


    You probably should avoid getting sick for sure.

    If you have low white blood counts then you need to be extra cautious.

    I have received 6 rounds of folfox and have been neutropenic since round 1 completion.

    I've had to constantly disssinfect everything.  I avoid all human contact for the most part, but have a 17 yr old son who lives with me.

    I have to have him dissinfect every time he goes out into public.  He immediately showers.  He's pretty good about the extra caution, but have to get on him from time to time.

    It's a real drag really.  Now I'm dealing with low platelet counts on top of it.  At round 2 my son developed a cough.  Upon his first cough I sent him to live with my brother and sister n laws fam.  He stayed for a month while he recouped.


    Bottom line, yes try not to get sick regardless of counts, but especially if your counts are low.

  • JanJan63
    JanJan63 Member Posts: 2,478 Member
    edited August 2017 #4
    Thank you!

    Thank you both! I spoke to my onc and to my husband's doctor yesterday and they said for something like this we need to both make sure we wash our hands often and ideally to not use the same toilet. He's supposed to have this for aboit another two weeks. The chemo I'm on isn't one that is particularly hard on the immune system, though. But for me to get any kind of intestinal bug could be terrible.