Important Considerations for Conducting Chemotherapy at Home: COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted people all over the world. The individuals most at risk of developing serious complications from this virus are those with weakened immune systems. This includes the elderly, who naturally have weaker immune systems, and those with chronic medical conditions that might lead to problems fighting off infections. This includes individuals with issues such as chronic neutropenia, severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID), and those undergoing treatment for cancer.

Chemotherapy Can Damage the Immune System

One of the most important components of cancer treatment is chemotherapy. This is a cancer treatment that targets and kills rapidly dividing cells, which include cancerous cells. This is how chemotherapy helps patients recover. On the other hand, there are plenty of non-cancerous cells that divide rapidly as well. This includes hair cells (which is why chemotherapy patients lose their hair), cells of the stomach lining (leading to nausea), and the immune system.

When the cells of the immune system start to die, this makes cancer patients vulnerable to contracting infections. This is why patients with cancer are usually isolated in hospitals and those coming in and out of the room have to undergo added hygiene precautions. Viruses that cause routine colds in other people can lead to deadly infections in others. In the wake of the pandemic, many people with cancer are undergoing chemo at home instead.

Undergoing Chemo at Home

Those who are undergoing chemotherapy at home need to keep a few important points in mind. While people may enjoy undergoing chemotherapy at home, they need to remember that these medications are going to have the same impact as when they are delivered in the hospital. Therefore, the side effects are going to be similar as well. This means that people need to have medical professionals standing by to help cope with the side effects. For example, nausea, vomiting, and weakness are still likely to develop.

Furthermore, the impacts on the immune system are going to be the same. Therefore, those undergoing chemotherapy at home need to try to limit their contact with others. The risk of contracting an infection such as COVID-19 is real. Remember that there are also instances of COVID-19 becoming fatal in people who are healthy. This means that those with cancer are at an increased risk of suffering fatal complications.

Chemotherapy at Home can be Helpful

Despite these risks, there are situations where undergoing chemotherapy at home can be helpful. It is important for people to stay on top of their chemotherapy treatment regimens during this difficult time. Therefore, those who are interested in learning more about chemotherapy at home should speak with their doctor to learn more.

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