Summary of Safe Living Guidelines for Immunocompromised Patients

Learn how to prevent infections in your immunocompromised child or patient by following this summarized list of guidelines:

Direct contact

  • Wash hands well with soap and water. Use gels or hand sanitizers if soap and water is not easily accessible.
  • Create a culture of good hand washing for the entire family.
  • Avoid people who are sick.
  • Minimize exposure to mosquitoes and ticks.


  • Drink clean water. Drinking tap water is safe unless local authorities have issued warnings. If you have concerns about your local tap water, boiling the water for 1 minute will decrease the risk of infection. Buying bottled water is not necessary. In general, the expense of buying bottled water is usually not warranted if you have access to treated tap water.
  • Avoid directly drinking water from lakes, rivers, and pools.
  • Avoid swallowing water during recreational water activities (e.g. water parks).
  • Wash bath-time toys in the dishwasher weekly.


  • Avoid contact with uncovered sand boxes, decaying plant matter, compost piles, and wood piles.


  • Avoid close contact with people who have runny nose and cough.
  • Avoid crowds (e.g. indoor playgrounds, movie theaters) especially during periods of heavy immune suppression.
  • Teach your child to not touch their eyes, mouth and face, especially if you notice this to be a habit for the child.
  • Minimize exposure to dust in the environment (e.g. construction areas, landscaping, mulching, farming areas, barns).


  • Avoid unpasteurized milk, cheese (e.g. queso fresco), fruit juice, or cider.
  • Avoid raw or undercooked eggs, meat, poultry, fish, and shellfish.
  • Fruits and vegetable should be washed thoroughly or peeled
  • All prepackaged foods (e.g. hot dogs, sausages) should be re-cooked.


  • Avoid cleaning litter boxes or cleaning up waste from pets.
  • Teach your child to not kiss pets.
  • Petting zoos are safe as long as good hand washing can be done.


  • Avoid air travel during periods of heavy immune suppression.
  • Plan in advance. Contact your doctor as soon as you have travel plans and, at minimum, 2 months before traveling to insure time for appropriate vaccinations and education.

The PDF version of this page can be found here:
Safe living Summary