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Patient and Family Safety during Chemotherapy

Medically reviewed by Last updated on May 6, 2024.


Chemotherapy (chemo)

leaves your body through your urine, bowel movements, sweat, tears, and vomit. Body fluids that get on your skin or another's skin may cause damage. You can follow certain steps to keep you and others safe. Follow these steps for 48 hours after you get chemo or as directed by your healthcare provider. If you get chemo every day, follow these steps until your healthcare provider tells you to stop.

Wash your hands:

Always wash your hands with warm water and soap after you use the bathroom. Use a paper towel instead of a cloth towel to dry your hands. This will decrease the risk that your body fluids will get on others.

Use your own toilet:

Have family and visitors use a separate toilet. This will decrease the risk that your body fluids will get on their skin. If it is not possible to use your own toilet, flush the toilet 2 times. Wear gloves and clean the toilet after you use it.

Prevent splashing body fluids:

Place the lid down before you flush the toilet. Both men and women should sit on the toilet.

Caregivers should wear 2 pairs of gloves:

Ask your healthcare provider where to buy gloves. Caregivers should wear gloves any time they need to clean the bathroom or handle your body fluids or laundry. This includes any time they need to empty your ostomy or other drains. Caregivers should always wash their hands with warm water and soap after they clean. If body fluids get on a caregiver's skin they should wash the area right away with soap and warm water. You or your caregiver should tell your healthcare provider if this happens.

Wash laundry as soon as possible:

Do not wash any laundry by hand. Wash clothes and sheets in a washing machine with warm water and detergent. If clothes or sheets cannot be washed right away, place them in a plastic bag. Seal the bag.

Throw away trash in 2 plastic bags:

This may include trash that has adult diapers, underwear, or sanitary pads in it. Seal this trash in 2 plastic bags before you throw it away with other trash.

Do not let a pregnant woman handle your body fluids or laundry:

Chemo can harm her unborn baby.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.