Increased risk of infections

If your immune system is affected by cancer treatments such as chemotherapy, you need to take precautions against getting an infection. Colds and flu are often passed around in organisations or between people who work closely together. This happens frequently during winter.

Tips for lowering your risk of infection

  • Let your colleagues know that you are more susceptible to infections.
  • If you work in an open plan environment, move to an office or an isolated desk during treatment and recovery.
  • Work in a well-ventilated space, if possible.
  • Keep your workspace clean, especially if you share a desk. Wipe down your phone, keyboard, desk and mouse regularly. If you use a company car, clean the steering wheel, handles and radio console.
  • Arrange to have video or teleconferences instead of face-to-face meetings.
  • If possible, take time off if you work in hospitality, health care or child-care. Stay away from people who are unwell, particularly if your immunity is lowered (e.g. low white blood cell count). Your employer can remind staff to stay at home when they are sick.
  • Wash your hands before eating and drinking, after taking public transport and using the bathroom.
  • Clean and cover any wounds or injuries that occur at work to prevent infection. Report the incident to your human resources department for work health and safety reasons.

This information was last reviewed in January 2017
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