Does Chemotherapy Make You More Susceptible to the Coronavirus?
Those going through the rigors of chemotherapy already have plenty to worry about without the coronavirus being added to the mix. This disease has swept through cities and towns across the planet, leaving hundreds of thousands sick and many in even worse condition.
As this frightening new illness reshapes reality for the world at large, certain segments of the population are left feeling more vulnerable than ever – cancer patients included.
It’s well-known that chemotherapy can affect patient’s immune systems – one of many chemo side effects that patients must contend with – but does chemotherapy make you more susceptible to the coronavirus? To find out, keep reading as the people at Chemo Mouthpiece™ address this very topic.
Dangers of the Coronavirus During Chemo
If you or someone you love is going through chemotherapy, you’ve probably already seen the debilitating effects this type of treatment can have on patients. Many people know about the hair loss and nausea that come with chemo – two of the more obvious side effects – but the less visible effects of these treatments can be even more problematic.
What makes chemotherapy such an effective treatment for cancer is its ability to seek out and attack cells that rapidly divide and grow – a hallmark of cancerous tissue. Unfortunately, there are other types of tissues that behave in much the same way, and chemo drugs lack the ability to tell friend from foe. This leads to the many side effects linked to chemo, especially those related to the mouth, digestive tract, hair, nails, and bone marrow.
In a healthy individual, bone marrow is responsible for producing the various blood cells that keep the body healthy. This means that it is constantly producing new cells, which makes it a prime target for the predations of chemo medication.
Once the drugs used in chemo reach the marrow in the patient’s bones, they begin disrupting the production of these cells, including the white blood cells that our bodies use to fight off threats like bacteria, fungi, and viruses – such as the novel coronavirus. Without an adequate supply of white blood cells, the patient’s immune system becomes compromised, leading to much more serious effects in the event of exposure to a contagion (Source).
Does Chemo Make You More Likely to Get the Coronavirus?
While chemotherapy can certainly interfere with your body’s ability to handle the coronavirus, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re more likely to contract this illness if you’re going through chemo. In order for the virus to affect you, it first must physically enter your body; for this to happen, you’d have to be exposed in some manner.
The coronavirus is a microbe that affects the respiratory system, meaning that, most often, it is spread from person to person; this typically happens when an infected individual coughs or sneezes and propels virus-laden droplets through the air and onto surfaces or other people. If you are in close proximity to someone with the virus, it is very easy to catch the illness from that person; if not, the greater danger is infected surfaces in public places (Source).
Assuming that you take the proper precautions and avoid exposure, you should be no more susceptible to the coronavirus than anyone else. Keep in mind, however, that a compromised immune system can leave your body with few resources to fight off an infection, which means that those undergoing chemo treatments are at a much higher risk of serious complications or death if they do happen to catch this virus.
Preventing Infection by the Coronavirus
As mentioned above, the coronavirus primarily spreads through proximity to infected individuals or interaction with an infected surface. Below, you’ll find some tips on how to prevent exposure to the coronavirus and protect yourself or a loved one going through chemotherapy from having to face a potentially life-threatening bout of COVID-19 (Source).
Keep Your Distance from Others
If you absolutely have to use public transit, visit a nearby store, or otherwise go out into a public place, be sure to keep your distance from those nearby to avoid the possibility of exposure. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people try to remain at least six feet away from one another at all times.
Wash Your Hands Frequently
If you happen to touch a surface that many other people have interacted with – such as a doorknob, handle, button, railing, etc. – make sure you wash your hands as soon as possible to prevent infection by the coronavirus. Using soap and warm water, scrub for at least 20 seconds (or two renditions of the Happy Birthday song at a normal pace) to ensure that your hands are clean.
Disinfect Household Surfaces
If you have people coming and going to and from your home, be sure to disinfect any frequently touched surfaces. First, wash the surface with soap and water, then dry it. Afterward, apply a household disinfectant product (most common brands will work) to wipe out any viruses on the surface (Source).
The only truly surefire way to avoid becoming infected with the coronavirus if you’re going through chemo is to stay at home and away from others. If this isn’t feasible, limit your contact as much as you can and use the precautionary measures listed above.
Limit Mouth Sores Caused by Chemotherapy with the Chemo Mouthpiece™
In addition to the considerable risk posed by the novel coronavirus, patients going through chemo face a number of potentially crippling side effects from their treatments, including oral mucositis. If you or someone you know has developed mouth sores because of chemo, know that help is available in the form of the Chemo Mouthpiece™.
This oral cryotherapy device can deliver effective cryotherapy during treatment, limiting the severity of any mouth sores that appear and improving many patients’ quality of life; learn more by visiting the Chemo Mouthpiece™ website or calling (866) 461-7518 today.