Thank you for your post.
A good idea is to establish what a ‘normal’ temperature is for you when you’re well. A normal temperature is usually around 36.5C although, this can vary slightly between individuals.
There’s no specific requirement to check your temperature a certain amount of times a day if you’re well. Although most patients receiving chemotherapy will check it once or twice a day at the same time unless they feel unwell.
Although your risk of infection is usually at its lowest point around 7–14 days after chemotherapy has been given, if you feel unwell, or have any have any symptoms of an infection such as a cold, sore throat, cough, passing urine frequently (urine infection), diarrhoea or feeling shivery and shaking you should always check your temperature. This is because everybody is different and your infection fighting cells may drop sooner than this and/or take longer to get back to normal.
Always contact the hospital on the 24-hour contact numbers you have been given and speak to a nurse or doctor if your temperature goes over 37.5°C (99.5°F).
Do call our free, confidential Helpline if you would like to talk this through or have any further questions. The number is 0808 800 6000.
Our opening hours are Monday to Friday 9am - 4pm and 9am -1pm on Saturday. Out of hours you can leave a message and we will call you back when we next open.
Breast Cancer Care Nurse
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A million and one? Expect more as time progresses 🙂 Along with all the meds!
My first piece of advice is this. ‘Shiny new’ isn’t a guarantee of accurate readings so do take your own and someone else’s temperature today to make sure the readings appear OK (low 36-37C). You don’t need to take your temperature even daily and it might become a bit obsessive, so I’d advise just keeping an eye on how you feel and if you feel your temperature has changed (you feel chilly or too hot, you may have no other symptoms), take your temperature and check at regular intervals if it’s risen/rising. You’ve been given a specific temperature that’s your alarm signal - don’t delay if you reach this figure or are heading close to it. It’s not making a fuss! It can make the difference between half a day on an antibiotic drip (then home with oral antibiotics) and full blown neutropoenic sepsis with days in hospital and no sleep!
I had the misfortune to trust my shiny new thermometer and ended up arriving at the hospital over 40C with n sepsis because my thermometer was faulty, giving readings more than 2C lower. I only rang because my husband was worried - I felt fine. I got such a telling off for delaying so long!! Lloyds Pharmacy weren’t remotely bothered they put my life at risk! After that, I bought another shiny new ear thermometer but also a cheaper back-up one just in case.
The most vulnerable time in the EC cycle, I was told, is 7-14 days after treatment when your white blood cells are at their lowest. My infection actually started day 15 of cycle 3 - we’re all different.
Good luck with the treatment. I hope it goes smoothly - most patients don’t get sepsis so don’t panic at the thought, just be mindful of the risk.
Hi sam, don’t know what the official line is but I just take mine if I feel offside.
On my 2nd chemo I asked about the limit and the nurse did say over 37.5 to get in touch - too late ooops!
had 1st EC yesterday and have shiny new ear thermometer. My query is how often should I be taking my temperature? Don't want to go overboard as have a million other cancer related chores..