Side effects of bone marrow and stem cell transplants …

Posted: July 12, 2015 at 12:43 am

You will have a low white blood cell count after your treatment. This means you are more at risk of getting an infection. You are likely to get an infection from the normally harmless bacteria we all have in our digestive systems and on our skin.

To stop this from happening your nurse may give you tablets called gut sterilisers (antibiotics) and mouthwashes. And they will encourage you to have a shower each day.

You are also at risk of infection from food. The nurses on the ward will tell you and your relatives about the food you can and can't eat. The rules vary from hospital to hospital but you may be told that

Your room will be thoroughly cleaned every day. Your visitors will be asked to wash their hands before they come into your room. They may also have to wear disposable gloves and aprons. Visitors with coughs and colds are not allowed. Some hospitals don't allow you to have plants or flowers in your room because bacteria and fungi can grow in the soil or water, and may cause infection.

Even with all these precautions, most people do get an infection at some point and need to have antibiotics. You can help yourself by trying to do your mouth care properly and getting up to shower and have your bed changed even on the days you don't feel too good.

After a transplant you will have lost immunity to diseases you were vaccinated against as a child. The team caring for you will advise you about the immunisations you need and when. You should only have inactivated immunisations and not live ones. To lower the risk of you getting any of these infections it is important that all your family have the flu vaccine and any children have all their immunisations.

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