This handout will give you guidelines about handling chemotherapy. It will also discuss how to avoid contact with chemotherapy when you are helping care for someone who is getting this type of treatment.
These medicines are given to destroy cancer cells. They can also affect normal cells. This is why some people have side effects. Direct exposure by people who do not have cancer can be harmful. Therefore, you should always avoid being exposed.
You can be exposed through direct contact on your skin or by breathing it in. You may breathe it in when it is being drawn into a syringe and droplets get into the air. Contact can occur on skin by touching urine, vomit or stool from a person getting the treatment. It can occur for 48 hours after the last dose of chemotherapy.
For your safety follow the guidelines listed below.
For any contact with chemotherapy or body fluids do the following.
- After handling any linens or supplies wash hands well.
- Soiled throw-away items, such as gloves, paper towels, and diapers can be put in a plastic bag and thrown out in the garbage.
- Soiled washable items, such as linens, towels, and cloth diapers should be washed by themselves using routine laundry soaps.
- When cleaning up a spill or leak of chemotherapy, wear latex gloves and follow the directions on the Spill Kit given to you.
- When cleaning up body fluids, wear latex gloves, and wash the area with soap and water. Rinse well.
- Get rid of body fluids, such as urine, vomit, or stool in the toilet. Close the lid before flushing. Flush the toilet twice.
- If there is any contact with your skin wash your skin with soap and water right away. Rinse and pat dry.
- If splashed into your eye, rinse out the eye with fast running lukewarm water right away, for 5 minutes. Keep the affected eye open while rinsing. Then call the regional Poison
Control Center for your area
Poison Control Center at UWHC: 1-800-815-8855
- Refrain from sexual intercourse for two days after chemotherapy. This will prevent exposure to body fluids
- Do not put oral chemotherapy in your hands. Pour the right amount into a medicine cup or the cover of the container.
- If crushing a pill, place the pill in a small plastic bag and seal it. Then crush the pill with a spoon. Pour it into a medicine cup and dispose of the bag.
- Keep chemotherapy out of the reach of children or pets.
- Return any unused chemotherapy to your pharmacy. They can dispose of it properly.
If you have any further concerns or questions, please talk to your oncology doctor, nurse, or pharmacist.
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 03/10/2011
Copyright © 03/10/2011 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#5153
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