More than 200,000 people are hospitalized from flu-related complications each year,(1) with January and February marking peak flu season in the United States. Cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy are at higher risk of health complications at this time of year due to their weakened immune system.(2) In 2009 alone, approximately 330,000 patients with cancer in the U.S. were admitted to the hospital for serious infectious complications.(3)
Today, on CDC’s Safe Healthcare blog, Alice Guh, MD, MPH, an infectious disease doctor and medical officer at the CDC, answers questions on how cancer patients can help better protect themselves during flu season.
The CDC also provides the following resources for healthcare providers, cancer patients and caregivers at PreventCancerInfections.org – a website for patients and caregivers featuring an interactive risk assessment tool for neutropenia and downloadable educational materials.
• Basic Infection Control and Prevention Plan for Outpatient Oncology Settings – guidelines for evidence-based infection prevention practices in outpatient oncology settings, where more than one million cancer patients receive chemotherapy and radiation therapy each year.
• Supporting educational resources available to download include health tip sheets on a variety of topics, posters, and fact sheets.
Join the conversation on CDC’s Safe Healthcare blog: http://blogs.cdc.gov/safehealthcare.
1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Seasonal Influenza. http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/qa/disease.htm
2. “Chemotherapy and You” brochure. National Cancer Institute website. www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/coping/chemotherapy-and-you/page7#SE8.
3. Anhang Price R et al. Cancer Hospitalizations for Adults. HCUP. 2009: Table 5.