Childr Health Information

Chemotherapy: Safe Handling

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Topic: Tests & Procedures


This handout was written to answer some of the questions most often asked about chemotherapy: safe handling. Please feel free to ask your doctor or nurse to go over any information you do not understand.

WHAT IS CHEMOTHERAPY?
Chemotherapy medicines are used to destroy rapidly dividing cells such as cancer cells. Chemotherapy comes in many forms such as pills, shots or intravenous (IV). The IV forms can be given for a short time or as a several-hour infusion.

WHAT IS AN EXPOSURE TO CHEMOTHERAPY AND WHY IS THIS HARMFUL?
Because chemotherapy affects the genetic makeup of cells, healthy individuals should avoid exposure to chemotherapy. Exposure to chemotherapy could cause unwanted changes to a healthy person’s cells. Exposure to chemotherapy can occur in many different ways.
1. Contact with the patient’s vomit, urine or stool
2. Breathing in vapors from the medicine
3. Skin contact with liquid forms of chemotherapy from a spill or splash Although the risk of danger from handling these small amounts of chemotherapy is slight, it is a good idea to avoid unnecessary exposure.

WHAT DO THE NURSES DO TO AVOID EXPOSURE?
When the nurses give chemotherapy, they will put on a gown, gloves, mask and goggles. This is to protect themselves from any spills, splashes or vapors that may accidentally occur while they are giving the drug. If an accidental chemotherapy spill occurs, the nurses have been instructed to make sure that no one has contact with the spill and that it is kept from spreading until they can clean it up with a special chemotherapy spill kit.

WHAT SAFETY MEASURES SHOULD BE USED WHILE MY CHILD IS RECEIVING CHEMOTHERAPY?
When your child is receiving IV chemotherapy, please ask the nurse how to handle the IV pole and bag as the child moves around. Please have your child remain on the unit while your child is receiving chemotherapy, unless your child’s nurse or doctor tells you differently. If the IV bag begins to leak or the tubing becomes disconnected, the following precautions should be observed:
• Contact a nurse immediately.
• Do not move the child and his chemotherapy so as not to spread the chemotherapy spill to other areas.
• Do not attempt to clean up the mess. The nurse will need to use special equipment to clean up the liquid.
• Should you come in contact with a chemotherapy spill, wash immediately with soap and water and change any soiled clothing.

WHAT DO PARENTS NEED TO DO WHEN THEY ARE HOME TO AVOID EXPOSURE?
After your child receives chemotherapy medicine, the following precautions should be used for 48 hours:
• Wear disposable gloves while helping your child when he or she is vomiting.
• Wear gloves when changing diapers or cleaning up vomit, stool or urine.
• Wear gloves when handling soiled linens, emesis basins, bedpans or urinals.
• After handling any bodily wastes, remove your gloves, dispose in trash and wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.

PDF: Child Health Information - CHEMOTHERAPY: SAFE HANDLING

Derechos de autor(c) de The Children's Medical Center, ano 1999. Este material unicamente tiene fines educativos. No puede ser reproducido, distribuido ni modificado sin previa autorizacion de The Children's Medical Center of Dayton, One Children's Plaza, Dayton, Ohio, 45404-1815. Llame al 937-641-3666 para solicitar autorizacion o para obtener un juego maestro para copias. Para obtener mas informacion puede visitar www.childrensdayton.org (consulte la seccion de informacion legal).

La informacion contenida en este material es unicamente informacion de tipo general. No debe considerarse como completa. Para obtener mas informacion acerca de los complementos para leche materna, por favor pidala a su doctor.
Corregido: 2001, 2004

The information contained in this handout is for general information only and should not be considered complete. For specific information about bathing your baby, please ask your doctor or nurse practitioner.

Additional information may be located in the Family Resource Center, 2nd floor, near the Outpatient Surgery Center. Hours of the center vary; please contact the Family Resource Center at 937-641-3700.

Copyright(c) The Children's Medical Center of Dayton. This material is for educational purposes only. It cannot be reproduced or distributed without permission from Dayton Children's.
Revised: 2001, 2004

 

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