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You may have never been a picky eater, but if you're in chemo for breast cancer, this is the best time to be picky. Chemo can lower your white blood counts - including those special cells that make up your immune system. Having fewer neutrophils leaves you more vulnerable to infections and fevers. Your best defense against bacteria, germs, viruses, and other pesky microbes is being proactive. Food is a great place to start being careful about what you put into your body.
Your chemo nurses have probably told you all about hand sanitizers and hand washing routines that help keep you healthy. And you've most likely started being good about keeping away from crowds when you are neutropenic. Hopefully, someone else is cleaning up after your pets, if you have any, and helping around the kitchen and bathroom. Be good to yourself, and delegate!
But do be careful about your menus and kitchen food safety, as well. Foods that are fresh, raw, or undercooked may bear bacteria that could lead to infections. So pass up the sushi and salads for now, and try cooked and well-washed entrees and veggies on the neutropenic diet until your immune system recovers. Practice good self-care during neutropenia and cut down on extra trips to the doctor's office. Prevention against infections and fevers is well worth the effort!
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