Home safety for chemotherapy

People who handle Chemotherapy drugs or come into contact with them are at risk of exposure to a variety of hazards. Drugs such as these can damage cancer cells in patients, but they can also pose risks for others. Chemotherapy drugs are normally broken down and eliminated by your body in 48 to 72 hours through the fluids in your body.

There are several ways in which second-hand chemotherapy exposure can occur

  • Tears 
  • Sweat 
  • Vomit 
  • Blood 
  • Semen and the vagina 
  • Urine and stool

Symptoms of acute exposure

In acute exposure, symptoms include rashnausea, vomiting, dizziness, abdominal pain, headaches, nasal sores, and allergic reactions. During prolonged exposure, birth defects, reproductive losses, and cancer are possible.

If you are going through chemotherapy, it is critical to be aware of certain safety precautions so that you and your loved ones are safe. Any exposure can be skin, including cleaning the bathroom, handling body waste, and handling soiled laundry.

Family safety precautions during chemotherapy

  • Flush the toilet twice and put the lid down before flushing to avoid splashing.
  • If possible, you may want to use a separate toilet during this time. If this is not possible, wear gloves to clean the toilet seat after each use.
  • Always wash your hands after going to the toilet. Dry your hands with paper towels and throw them away.
  • To use the toilet, both men and women should sit on it. This cuts down on splashing.
  • Dispose of adult diapers, underwear, and sanitary pads in 2 plastic bags with your normal rubbish.
  • If you vomit into the toilet, clean off all splashes and flush twice.
  • If you vomit into a bucket, carefully empty it into the toilet and flush twice.
  • Wash out the bucket with hot, soapy water and rinse it. Dry the bucket with paper towels and throw them away. 
  • Throw the bucket away after treatment finishes. 
  • Caregivers should wear 2 pairs of throw-away gloves if they need to touch any of your body fluids.
  • They should always wash their hands with warm water and soap afterwards, even if they had gloves on.
  • If a caregiver does come in contact with any of your body fluids, they should wash the area very well with warm water and soap. This does not normally cause any harm but at your next visit, let your doctor know this happened. This is just for extra safety.
  • Wash clothing or other items soiled with body fluids separately.
  • Wear disposable gloves when handling clothing or bed linens that have been contaminated with vomit or other body fluids. Seal the gloves in a plastic bag and discard.
  • Use the longest cycle on the washing machine and line dry the items.
  • If you can't wash clothes right away, put clothes into a sealed plastic bag


For more safety tips read - 'Food Safety tips' 

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