How can I protect myself when I have to go to a cancer centre for a follow-up appointment or for treatment?
If your hospital appointment has been confirmed by your physician or nurse, it’s important for you to go to it and take precautions.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, please contact your healthcare team BEFORE going to the hospital:
- Fever or temperature of 38.3°C (102°F) or higher
- Trouble breathing (shortness of breath)
- Dry cough
- Unusual tiredness
Try to avoid taking public transit (bus, subway, etc.) to the hospital.
Several provinces recommend wearing a mask (or homemade face covering) for trips outside, including trips to hospital appointments. Wearing a mask while out in the community is an extra measure you can take to protect others, in addition to physical distancing and handwashing. As some carriers of COVID-19 are asymptomatic, wearing a mask may help reduce the risk of an infected person spreading the disease to other people. Masks must be worn correctly to be effective. For more information, visit Health Canada's website.
When you arrive at the hospital, use hand sanitizer right away. You will be assessed to determine whether you have any COVID-19 symptoms and given a mask to wear for the duration of your hospital visit.
Some hospitals only allow entry to patients, meaning no one can come in with you, so check your hospital’s regulations on their website. Stay at least two metres away from others and make your way directly to the location of your appointment.
Other preventative measures you should take while at the hospital:
- Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth without washing your hands first
- Cough and sneeze into your elbow, not your hands
Rest assured that every hospital has special protocols in place to prevent all unnecessary contact and protect you from exposure. As part of these preventative measures, strict cleaning and equipment disinfection procedures are followed everywhere. There are also protective measures in place in waiting rooms to prevent all contamination. As a rule, visits are not allowed.
When you get home, don’t forget to wash your hands. Some people choose to remove and wash all clothing worn at the hospital; however, no clear guidelines on this practice have been released.