During my own chemo treatment and then again during my daughter’s chemo treatment, we insisted that every single person who entered the house had to wash his hands with antibacterial soap and water and dry with paper towels (and not in the kitchen sink!) It may sound a little crazy–we had a few uncomfortable moments and a few downright stand-offs–but it’s an important and effective line of defense against infection while your immune system is compromised.
There are situations where it’s more difficult to enforce a hand washing routine. It’s definitely harder with little kids around, but it can be made more popular with fun, foaming pump soap and decorative paper towels. And, the payoff, in terms of germ reduction, is worth the effort, (just follow their germy little hands for a few moments to reach that conclusion!) It’s also more difficult in cold weather with complaints about dry skin. Keep a few yummy-smelling tubes of hand lotion nearby; everyone loves a free sample.
Your own children are worried about you and may feel comforted by having a role in your care. Enforcer of the hand-washing code, pump soap and paper towel inventory officer are assignments that can make them feel a part of the care and healing.
Hand washing is not about obsessing over germs; it’s a numbers game and less bacteria means less chance of infection. In the risk-benefit calculation of infection control, a zero-exception hand washing policy is a simple win-win!