Discharge Instructions for Immunocompromised Patients
You have either undergone a procedure or been diagnosed with an illness that has made you "immunocompromised." This means that your immune system is very weak, making it difficult to fight off infection. The ability to fight off infection varies. It depends on your specific condition and the treatment you have. Certain cancers, cancer treatments, HIV infection, and transplant surgery are examples of things that can make you immunocompromised. You must be very careful-even the slightest infection can carry the risk of hospitalization or death. The following information will help you protect yourself from infection.
- Make an appointment to see your health care provider as soon as possible.
- Follow the instructions until your health care provider tells you that you can stop.
- Some of the instructions may not be necessary. Ask your provider what's necessary for you.
- Take your medicines exactly as directed.
- Don't take any other medications, including those available over-the-counter unless your health care provider says it's OK.
- Tell your provider about any side effects you have.
- Wash your hands often, especially after using the bathroom. Make sure you wash them before and after changing any dressing or bandages.
- Avoid direct sun exposure. And use sunscreen that is labeled hydroallergenic and has an SPF of 30 or higher.
- Use an electric razor for shaving so you don't cut yourself.
- Check your skin daily for irritation, cracks, or rashes.
Keep your home clean
- Clean floors, carpets, furniture, and countertops regularly. Use products that kill germs.
- Be sure your kitchen is clean and all foods are safely stored.
- Be sure your bathroom is clean.
- Don't keep plants or flowers indoors. If you garden, wear gloves.
- Wash your hands after handling trash.
Prevent colds and the flu
- Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer often. Try to keep your hands away from your mouth, nose, and face. Make sure you wash your hands before eating.
- Avoid public places such as shopping malls, especially when crowded.
- Limit visits with young children. They frequently have colds or the flu.
- Avoid contact with anyone who has a cold, the flu, or another contagious condition (such as measles, chickenpox, herpes, pinkeye, cough, or sore throat).
- Check with your provider about whether or not you should wear a mask when you are around people.
- Check with your provider about recommended immunizations or vaccines.
Other ways to lower your risk of infection
- Check with your provider before having close contact with others.
- Ask your provider before using cosmetics, contact lenses, tampons, or douches.
- Don't smoke or use tobacco products.
- Don't use portable humidifiers or vaporizers.
- Avoid contact with animals.
- If you do touch an animal, wash your hands immediately afterward.
- Avoid contact with pet urine or feces.
- Don't clean litter boxes, cages, or aquariums.
- Check with your provider before cutting your nails. It may be advised that you file your nails instead. If you have trouble cutting or filing your own toenails, a podiatrist or foot doctor can help.
- To avoid injuring your feet or coming in contact with germs, always wear shoes.
Make sure you see your provider as soon as possible. You will likely have an exam and additional tests, if necessary. You will also have a chance to ask questions.
Make a follow-up appointment as directed by our staff.
When to call your health care provider
Call your doctor right away if you have any of the following:
- Blurred vision or eye problems
- Trouble concentrating
- Ongoing fatigue
- Shortness of breath
- Rapid, irregular heartbeat
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Rash or hives
- Wheezing or trouble breathing
- Skin cut or sore that swells, turns red, feels hot or painful, or begins to ooze
- Fever of 100.4?F (38.0?C) or higher, or chills
- Diarrhea that does not go away after 2 loose stools
- Pain or cramping in the abdomen