Not having an immune system is frightening.
July 14, 2011 1:17 PM Subscribe
Household tips for the immunocompromised?
posted by fancyoats to Health & Fitness (18 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
My husband was recently diagnosed with Stage III Anaplastic Large T-Cell Lymphoma. It is one of the fast-growing, aggressive types of Lymphoma, which responds very well to chemotherapy, and since he is young and otherwise healthy, his oncologists have given him a very good prognosis.
He is currently receiving a chemotherapy regimen called CHOP every three weeks. The doctors have warned him that the second week of the cycle (days 7-14) are when his white blood cell counts will be lowest, and he should consider himself immunocompromised during that week. Today is the start of that second week, and I am freaking out a little.
We have two young children and I am worried about when our oldest starts preschool in September, being that schools are basically huge germ factories. I have never been all that germophobic (I have no problem eating the cookie that drops on the kitchen floor, etc.) so this is new territory for me. I know that frequent handwashing is important, and I am planning on buying a bunch of things of Purell or other alcohol-based hand sanitizer, and keeping one in each car and one in my purse and several in other key places around the house. I was thinking of getting maybe some of those Clorox wipes or something like that too. Does this seem like a good idea?
I know we should clean places like our computer keyboard, our phones, our doorknobs. But how? Spritzing with rubbing alcohol? Wiping with bleach? Is that bad for the keyboard to have bleach on it? Any other germy hotspots I should know about?
The bathroom will be cleaned as often as I can manage. Any advice or tips/techniques to keep things as sanitary as possible?
I know we also need to be careful with food safety, but I am not sure whether I need to change anything about my habits. I know not to use the same knife/cutting board for meat and vegetables. Do the rules about Listeria that apply to pregnant women (i.e., no soft cheese and no deli meats, etc.) also apply to this situation? How about leftovers, are they ok? To what extent? We wipe down our counters daily, but should I be doing it more? What should I be using? Paper towels with bleach instead of our kitchen cloth with soap and water? We have plenty of dishcloths and we currently use at least 4 or 5 fresh cloths every day -- whenever there is a new mess, we get a clean cloth. They are washed in hot water with bleach. Are they clean enough?
Is there anywhere online I can find explicit guidelines about this stuff? I would appreciate any and all advice -- things I may have overlooked, etc.
And is there such a thing as too careful? I am thinking it would be easy to fall down the paranoid rabbit hole of "ZOMG there are germs EVERYWHERE!!!!" and I would like to be reasonable but also, you know, keep my husband from dying of a preventable infection.