Living With Male Breast Cancer: How To Prevent Infections During Treatment
Every year, 60,000 cancer patients in the US are hospitalized because their reduced number of white blood cells could not stand up to an infection, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Chemotherapy is vital for fighting male breast cancer, but it can damage the patient's immune system by reducing their white blood cell count, a condition referred to as neutropenia. Low white blood cell count makes the body more susceptible to illnesses, and increases the severity of symptoms when the illnesses strike. While it is impossible to prevent chemotherapy from destroying white blood cells, male breast cancer patients can do a lot to prevent illnesses so that they can stay strong and focused in their fight against the disease.
Be careful when going to public places
During male breast cancer treatment, it's best to avoid going to public places where anyone could be carrying an infectious disease, but if you must go, there are various steps you can take to prevent infections. First of all, wear protective clothing at all times, such as gloves and shoes, and always keep your hand sanitizer close. If you have to go to the hospital for any reason, you need to be extra careful, as they can present dangers for anyone with a weak immune system. Hospitals can sometimes play host to superbugs, which can take advantage of your weak immune system and attack your body, causing serious infections. Avoid touching anyone or anything in the hospital, and observe their hygiene protocol to stay safe.
Practice good hygiene
Keeping your body and the environment around you clean drastically reduces the chances of harmful bacteria attacking you and causing an infection. One of the best ways to prevent infections is by keeping your hands clean at all times. You can do this by washing your hands thoroughly every time you come into contact with other people or dirty surfaces, or by using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Keep your home clean as well by washing surfaces regularly with soap and water, and cleaning dirty dishes with hot water. Any type of wound, such as a cut or scrape on your skin, must be treated properly to minimize the chances of an infection. It should be cleaned, treated with antibiotic cream, and dressed properly to keep germs at bay.
Stay up to date on vaccinations
When your immune system is weak, vaccinations become even more important to prevent diseases. One vaccine that is recommended for male breast cancer patients by the CDC is the seasonal flu shot. The flu is usually just a nuisance, but for cancer patients, it can result in hospitalization and serious conditions like pneumonia. To prevent this, you should always ensure that you get your flu shot as soon as it's available. You can also encourage other members of your family to get it as well.
Male breast cancer is already a terrible disease on its own. The last thing you want is to have to deal with other illnesses while facing it. Fortunately, you can protect yourself by being careful and vigilant, but if you ever notice any signs of an infection, notify your doctor immediately to get advice on the best course of action.