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How can I avoid unnecessary infection while I'm being treated for cancer?

The following are some simple tips to reduce exposure to and avoid unnecessary infection and/or illness during the time your immune system is compromised due to cancer treatment:

  • Wash your hands often and thoroughly, especially before and after handling food. Be sure to wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds. Pay special attention to your finger nails, and don't forget to wash the backs of your hands.
  • Keep raw and cooked foods separate. Do not reuse any utensils, cutting boards, plates, dishes, etc. once they have been touched by raw meat or eggs. Utensils, cutting boards, plates, dishes, etc. that have been used for preparing raw meats or eggs should be washed in hot, soapy water. It is best to keep a separate cutting board for meat and fruits/vegetables. Have an extra clean cutting board available for additional preparation as well.
  • When shopping for and storing raw meats, keep them away from other foods and cover the packages with extra plastic wrap or use plastic bags. This will prevent any liquids from leaking onto other foods or surfaces. Store meats and eggs toward the bottom of the refrigerator to prevent any dripping on other foods below.
  • Avoid eating raw food such as sushi, undercooked eggs (i.e. "sunny side up") and other foods that have not been cooked to a proper internal temperature. Cook all eggs until both the white and the yolk are firm. Use a meat thermometer to make sure that all meats are cooked to the proper internal temperature prior to eating.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.