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chemo precautions?

vermontgirl's picture
Posts: 66
Joined: Nov 2012

Me again....I was wondering if anyone who has had cisplatin can answer this. Do you have to be careful with germs/sick kids around someone who is undergoing cisplatin? I assume yes because of the beating the white blood cells take. And of course I ask because my son seems to be coming down with something and my husband is due for first chemo on Tuesday. Maybe I should have my son stay with my mom and dad for a while if he is still sick then? Any advice?


sassysrice's picture
Posts: 117
Joined: Nov 2012

Hi Kristin
It is my boyfriends first with cisplatin today. The nurse who educated us said we should avoid sick people too but she said the first couple treatments won't jepadize his immune system yet. Does he tend to catch whatever the kids come home with? I would say this one might be fine. How many chemo does he have?
Good luck and keep posting this is a great place for support.

phrannie51's picture
Posts: 4673
Joined: Mar 2012

factories like work, the grocery store, etc. when I started chemo. That said, it wasn't until my blood work showed very low WBC's that that they told me to stay out of them altogether. That didn't happen until I was on my 4th Cisplatin treatment (mixed with 5FU). Because you just don't know how chemo will affect an individual body, I think I'd keep your son away from his dad, until he's over whatever he's catching. If not that then ask your Onco for some masks...they kept a package of them on the nurses station counter at my Onc's office. There was more than a couple times that a nurse was wearing one due to a cold or cough she was catching...the nurses were around a lot of people with compromised immune systems, and they seem to feel that the mask was all they needed.


Skiffin16's picture
Posts: 8286
Joined: Sep 2009

You should stay as clear from sick people and exposure as you can.

It's not just Cisplatin, but the chemo and rads in general...

Your immune system takes a beating, with much lower inection fighters as you have mentioned.

The less exposed you are, the better for not adding any undue burden or complication.

I stayed pretty clear of crowds, buffet style restaurants (during treatment, LOL)..., etc..

It always bugged me that the places that I had to go for treatment, were the places with the highest concentrations of sick people, LOL...


George_Baltimore's picture
Posts: 303
Joined: Jun 2009

You certainly have a way with words, John.

luv4lacrosse's picture
Posts: 1410
Joined: Jul 2010

Any of the Platinum based chemo's have varying ranges of side effects. Before you start, get a baseline hearing test, as most of us have had some hearing loss, and varying degrees of tinnitus or ringing in the ears. These drugs can be particularly hard on your Kidneys, and make sure your facility hydrates you before and after the treatment.

You may also experience loss of taste or a metallic taste.

Good drug, and I was fortunate to be able to tough out all 3 doses, and when I say tough it out, some have to stop after the first and or second dose due to side effects.



Mikemetz's picture
Posts: 403
Joined: Nov 2011

1. Do not go alone. Even if it is mostly a non-event, you will appreciate the company.

2. Fight for a chair near the rest room/s

3. Learn how to walk fast with your IV cart hooked up, just in case #2 can't happen.

3. Close your eyes and think of 20 other places in the world you'd rather be

4. Don't watch the clock--it's over when it's over and they say you can go home

5. Don't make early dinner reservations for a fancy restaurant (because of #4)

6. Avoid your school-aged kids or grandkids. They, or their germs, are the enemy.

I can relate to Mike's concern--I was OK after the first infusion, and through the second one. Shortly after the second one, I hit my lowpoint for white cell count, and then had an a-fib event at the same time. I was lucky to survive that night, and still spent the next 4 days in ICU.

I guess what I'm trying to say is to stay vigilant, even when you feel OK. Cisplatin can sneak up on you at any time.

Best of luck as you go through this.


ToBeGolden's picture
Posts: 695
Joined: Aug 2010

I can second the suggestion of being close to a restroom. One often overlooks the shear amount of fluid received during chemo. I also took the unusual step for me of wearing protective underwear on the way home. I haven't needed protective underwear as a rule. But after a couple of bags of IV solution and a trip home that lasted over an hour and a half (at times depending on the traffic) protective underwear was comforting. I took them off once I reached home.

To be honest, I have a slightly large prostate. Not large enough to cause a problem most of the time. But the prostate does cause a problem when on IV fluids.

I might also scout out restrooms on the way home. Some are near the entrances of businesses/stores, so you don't have to mingle with the crowds. Rick.

donfoo's picture
Posts: 1648
Joined: Dec 2012

I love this site as the way one picks up the finer points of experiencing cancer treatment are often found serendipitously like this rather benign #2 comment.

Does the IV and or chemo/radiation treatments cause your bladder to fill often? Does this continue at home too?

Good to know so you can map out pee pee stops along your daily journey.

Skiffin16's picture
Posts: 8286
Joined: Sep 2009

I was labeled the PeeKing on my first day, LOL...

With all of the bags of fluids, hydration, and the lasix to flush the cisplatin....

I was lucky, my chemo facility has two restrooms, one on each end.

I just happened to sit right next to one my first day.

Having the port, my chemo was infused through a pump on a stand along with the meds.

So I had to have my wife or someone unplug it from the wall, go do my bidness..., then plug me in again.

It was like when (military reference here, LOL, back in the day)..., like when you drink a few beers. The first few you are good to go, no peeing involved.

But at some point, it starts hitting you...., after that first pee, you might as well except the fact... For each beer after you pee, you might as well figure you are going to pee twice for each beer from then on out...


ToBeGolden's picture
Posts: 695
Joined: Aug 2010

It's not that the medications (cisplatin erbitux etc) makes you pee (more); it is simply that you get a lot of fluid pushed into you. You get 2 1/2 bags of fluid pushed in a couple of hours. (My chemo lasted about 4 hours total.) In addition, the staff tries to get you to drink liquids. (And in my case, I have a slightly enlarged prostate.)

Maybe somebody with a 100% healthy (and youthful) urinary system, the IV's might not be a problem. But if you have an aging urinary system, chemo becomes a challenge. Not a challenge that can't be overcome. But nevertheless, a challenge that needs to be addressed.

I never lost control, which is a good thing. But I did learn to move with the IV stand attached. I also had my wife determine whether the restroom was free before I stood up.

The extra urge to urinate lasts only about 4 hours post treatment. By bedtime, all was back to normal.


CivilMatt's picture
Posts: 4318
Joined: May 2012


Avoid as many potential germs as you can. I would hate to think of having a cold, flu or sore throat on top of cancer side effect. As p51 says put on a mask if worried. I did not have to worry about restaurants (because I hated food). Be extra careful, there is no reason to purposely complicate your treatments.



Skiffin16's picture
Posts: 8286
Joined: Sep 2009

LOL, actually Matt, it's kind of funny...

I know Dawn I were talking about that one day...

Neither of us got a cold, flu, or anything similar for two years post Tx...

We figure between chemo and rads, it must have killed everything off for awhile, LOL...


NJShore's picture
Posts: 423
Joined: Nov 2012


I helped support my Dad and now I support my husband through treatments. I have a note on the door that says, "please don't ring the bell, please call before visiting". -- Its because of the germs. I ask everyone who wants to visit -- are you sick, anyone at home sick? We are just a bit overly concerned. At this time, it's all about my husband, but this is only temporary.

Everyone's mileage might vary on this and I am sure we are way overboard - but I also know that two weeks into treatment that my husband calls himself Mr. Miserable. I can't imagine him with a cold etc on top of it.

Oh and yourself too - being a caretaker, you get run down easily and fast. It's a full time job.. make sure you don't get sick.. he needs you now to be at your best.

However, if you do opt to send your son to his grandparents.. is it possible to set up an appointment every day to skype with him? Maybe your son and your husband can watch your sons favorite tv show together? play a game together and talk at the same time? work on homework?

Good Luck, whatever you choose, I bet it's the best decision for your family.


vermontgirl's picture
Posts: 66
Joined: Nov 2012

Thanks guys.

My son seems to be on the mend already. We already planned on him staying with grandparents for first days while we have our long chemo/dry run rad, EKG, bloodwork, fluids, etc, etc, etc, day the first day. Sounds like he will stay there until he is all clear. Good advice about chair location near bathroom. So many good tips. We are so ready for the fight.....through the storm and onto better days.

I'll keep you posted.


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