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Discharge Instructions for Bone Marrow or Stem Cell Transplant

You had a procedure called bone marrow transplant. This procedure is used to treat many diseases—for example, blood cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma, solid tumors such as testicular cancer, blood diseases such as aplastic anemia, and immune and genetic diseases.

After bone marrow transplant, your risk of infection is greater because your immune system is weak for up to six months after the transplant. Protect yourself from infection by following the guidelines and precautions on this sheet.

Activity

  • Increase your activity gradually.

  • Begin light exercise such as walking.

  • Get plenty of rest and take breaks between activities.

  • Check with your doctor before driving a car.

  • Don’t swim until the central venous catheters have been removed.

  • Ask your doctor when you can expect to return to work or school.

  • Avoid riding bicycles or motorcycles.

Skin care

  • Take care of your skin:

    • Wash your hands frequently, especially after using the bathroom.

    • Wash your hands before and after caring for your central venous catheter, if you have one.

    • Use an electric razor for shaving.

  • Protect your skin from the sun:

    • Use hypoallergenic sunscreen with SPF of 15 or greater.

    • Avoid direct sun exposure on your skin.

    • Cover your head with a wig, scarf, or cap when you are outside.

Limit exposure to bacteria

  • Check with your doctor before kissing or having close intimate contact with anyone.

  • Wear a mask when you walk through the hospital.

  • Ask your doctor before using cosmetics, contact lenses, tampons, and douches.

  • Avoid public places such as shopping malls, especially during holidays and during big sales events.

  • Avoid contact with anyone who has a cold, the flu, or another contagious condition (e.g., measles, chicken pox, herpes, viruses, pinkeye, coughs, sore throats).

  • Limit visits with young children. They frequently have colds or the flu.

  • Follow a low-bacteria diet. Ask your doctor for more information about this diet.

  • Avoid contact with animals.

    • If you do come in contact with an animal, wash your hands immediately afterward.

    • Avoid contact with pet urine or feces.

    • Don’t clean litter boxes, cages, or aquariums.

  • Keep your home clean.

    • Clean floors, carpets, furniture, and countertops regularly.

    • Be sure your bathroom is clean.

    • Wash your hands after handling trash.

Limit exposure to other substances

  • Don’t smoke or use tobacco products.

  • Don’t do yard work such as gardening, mowing the lawn, or raking leaves. Don’t handle cut flowers or potted plants.

  • Don’t work on cars or machinery.

  • Wear a mask when you are near construction areas, windy places, or any area with dust or fumes.

  • Avoid chemicals and fumes such as gasoline, fuel oil, paints, pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers.

  • Don’t use portable humidifiers or vaporizers.

Medication

  • Take your medicines exactly as prescribed by your doctor. It is very important that you follow your doctor's instructions carefully, and always take your medications.

  • Don’t take any over-the-counter medications, supplements, or herbal remedies unless you have discussed it with your doctor first.

  • Tell your doctor about any side effects.

Follow-up

Make a follow-up appointment as directed by our staff.

When to call your doctor

Call your doctor right away if you have any of the following:

  • Any bleeding

  • Vomiting, with or without blood

  • Fever above 100.5°F or shaking chills

  • Shortness of breath

  • Severe headache or confusion

  • Dizziness or lightheadedness

  • Loss of consciousness

  • Black or tarry stools

  • Diarrhea that does not go away after 2 loose stools

  • Pain or cramping in the abdomen (lower belly)

  • Any chest pain

 

 

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