Published: Feb. 12, 2010
Updated: June 6, 2012
Infections in a transplant patient can be quite serious, even life-threatening. Good hand washing along with the following practices will help prevent infection.
After lung transplant, avoid large crowds where people could carry contagious illnesses. While you don't have to be confined to your home, use common sense and intuition to avoid crowds that carry illness and germs.
Possible precautions to take:
Light housekeeping will not harm you and is a very good way to get back into shape. It is important to observe the following safety precautions:
If you have always enjoyed having a pet or pets in the house, there is no reason for that to change. However you should follow some guidelines to prevent infection:
After your transplant, you will probably get the same number of colds and flu-like illnesses that you always did, but, understandably, these will cause you more concern than they did before.
For both your physical and emotional health, therefore, you should do all you can to prevent colds and flu. This is largely a matter of careful hygiene and common sense.
It is important to wash your hands frequently, since most infections travel hand-to-hand rather than through the air.
Do not eat after people (out of bags or bowls of popcorn, for example), drink after people, or reuse a bathroom glass.
You and all of your family members should get a flu shot as soon as they are available each year. This is usually in October. If you have small children, discuss the flu shot with their pediatrician.
You should also keep up with other routine vaccinations, such as tetanus and pneumonia vaccines. You may also receive a shot of the H1N1 vaccine.
You should not get live vaccines (oral polio, flu nasal spray); in fact, you should avoid close contact with anyone who has received these vaccinations within the last three weeks.
Despite your best efforts, you will catch a cold or flu from time to time. When you do, you should call the transplant coordinator to see if you need antibiotics.
Should symptoms of a cold linger, or if you develop a fever, symptoms of chest congestion, or a productive cough, be sure to call the transplant coordinator right away.
The lung is the most susceptible site of infection after your transplant, and the doctor may x-ray your chest in order to spot the infection.
The natural ability of your body to heal wounds will be slowed down because of the immunosuppressive medication you take to prevent transplant rejection. If you do need first aid care, follow these guidelines: