White blood cells are the infection fighters of the blood stream. When chemotherapy damages white blood cells, the immune system is suppressed there is a higher risk for infection.

Without a blood test, it is hard to know if the white blood cell count is low. If the immune system is not working properly, the body will not respond to infection in a normal way.

Other than monitoring blood counts, it is important to be careful to stay healthy by:

  • Washing your hands frequently.
  • Avoiding skin cuts. If you do cut yourself, wash carefully and apply antibiotic ointment.
  • Bathing daily, brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing (unless you were told not to do so by your doctor).
  • Avoiding contact with people who are sick.

It is important to call your doctor if you develop a fever over 100.5 F or develop the shakes or chills