Preventing infection at home

Children who are treated for cancer are at risk of infection. The most common types of infections are bacterial, opportunistic or viral infections. 

Bacterial infections

A healthy immune system and normal white blood cell count fights bacteria. However, when the white blood cell count is low, the chance of infection increases. 

If your child gets a fever, go to the hospital right away. The doctor will order antibiotics that target bacteria in children with cancer. 

Opportunistic infections

Opportunistic infections only happen when the immune system isn't working well. Infections include fungus (thrush or yeast) and a type of pneumonia called Pneumocystis. 

Your doctor may give your child a medicine called Bactrim or Septrim to help prevent Pneumocystis. 

Viral infections

Children who receive cancer treatment can get common viral illnesses such as colds and diarrhoea. Some viral illnesses such as chicken pox and shingles can be more serious in children with cancer. 

Last updated Wednesday 26th June 2024