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Cancer: General Instructions

What Are General Instructions for Caring for a Child with Cancer?

Here are general health instructions for caring for a child with cancer.

Dental Care

Maintain good dental health by brushing your child’s teeth with a soft bristle toothbrush daily.

Check with your child's hematologist / oncologist before you take your child to the dentist.

Safety Tips

  • When your child's blood count (ANC) is low, avoid crowds or people who have active infections. Your child's care team will let you know when you need to take extra precautions to protect your child from infection.
  • Do not take rectal temperatures, or give suppositories or enemas to your child.
  • Do not let anyone give your child an intramuscular (IM) injection without checking with their care providers first.
  • Do not let your child drink hot or cold liquids before taking your child's temperature.
  • If your child has been exposed to someone with chickenpox or shingles, immediately notify your child's doctor. (People with chickenpox are contagious for one to two days before the rash appears.)
  • No medication should be given to your child unless it has been approved by the oncology care team.
  • No immunizations for your child unless permitted by healthcare provider. Also, check with the physician before other children in your family get their live vaccines (varicella or MMR, measles, mumps, rubella).
  • No tattoos or piercings while undergoing treatment as these could be sources of infection / bleeding.

Call Your Child's Doctor If:

  • Fever is greater than or equal to 100.4ºF (38ºC). Temperature should be taken under the tongue or under the arm.
  • Severe abdominal pain and/or diarrhea (more than five watery stools per day).
  • A persistent cough that lasts more than one or two days.
  • Bleeding from the nose or from a cut or injury that you cannot stop.
  • Blood in your child's vomit, urine or stool.

Last Updated 09/2022