Do I need to change my living arrangements because my immune system is low?

People with cancer who are currently undergoing or have recently undergone cancer treatment that has impacted their immune system need to take additional precautions to reduce their risk of contracting COVID-19.


There are many different issues that might arise and we have attempted to capture some of them here:

  • Someone in my household has been exposed to the coronavirus. If it is possible, you should avoid living with someone who has been exposed to COVID-19 if you have a lower immune system. If it is not practical for the exposed person to be in another home then they should be confined to one room of the house, preferably with a separate bathroom. If a separate bathroom is not possible then all surfaces should be cleaned and then disinfected after the person who has been exposed to COVID-19 uses any communal facilities. A solution of bleach and water is effective and has been recommended by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. They recommend adding 4 teaspoons of bleach per litre of water, or using a 70% alcohol based cleaner. You should take particular care to isolate the exposed person from any activities to do with eating or drinking, such as preparing food, where a high risk of cross contamination exists. You can read more here.
  • Someone in my household has tested positive to coronovirus. Given what we know about COVID-19 so far, it will be likely that you will also have been exposed to the virus as has anyone else that you are living with. You should contact your cancer care provider by phone to let them know about possible exposure and seek advice specific to your situation around testing and next steps. Continue to maintain separation from the affected person. Monitor your symptoms and report any fever, sore throat or cough to your treatment team immediately.

You may like to ask questions or discuss the above in our Cancer and COVID-19 forum.



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Last update:
October 2020
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