Increased Risk of Infection / Fever


Chemotherapy can decrease your white blood cell count, which puts you at risk for getting an infection – a serious side effect. Serious infections can land you in the hospital, and may even be life-threatening. A fever is sign of infection. Take your temperature anytime you feel warm regularly and contact your healthcare team if your temperature is 101 F or above, so they can evaluate your need for antibiotics. Your body needs white blood cells to fight infection. If your white blood count is too low, you might need to take time off before your next treatment so your body can get stronger.

Tips to Prevent Infection

  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Avoid being near people who are sick
  • Stay out of crowds
  • Be careful and prevent cuts. If you do cut yourself, clean the area well and apply an antiseptic
  • Avoid raw fish and undercooked meats and eggs. Wash fruits and veggies

For more information on preventing infection, please visit the CDC.


Content medically-reviewed by members of the Fight Colorectal Cancer Medical Advisory Board, February 2014

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