Long-Term Follow-Up

Common Activity/Exposure Questions

Q. I am between six months and one year post-transplant, but I am now off of all systemic immunosuppressive therapy. Are there still activities or exposures I need to avoid?   

Patients who are less than a year post-transplant are still reconstituting their immune systems. Even if you have stopped all systemic immunosuppressive therapy, there are still things you need to avoid. The following activities and exposures are generally considered unsafe for patients less than one year after transplant.  Please check with your health care provider or LTFU for specifics regarding your individual situation. Go to the Information for Physicians page for more information.

Avoid:

  • Submerging your head when swimming
  • Attending school (children)
  • Gardening (digging, raking, mowing)
  • Sawdust (occasional woodworking with a dust mask ok)
  • Barns full of hay
  • New pets in the household
  • Sleeping with pets
  • Contact with pet waste
  • Domestic poultry (chickens, ducks, etc.)
  • Wild birds and animals (hunting OK, but don't handle or clean game)
  • Reptiles
  • Zoos and petting zoos
  • Baiting fish hooks or handling fish without gloves 

Q. It has been more than one year since my transplant, but I am still taking systemic immunosuppressive therapy.  What activities and exposures do I still need to avoid?   

Even after a full year has passed patients who are on systemic immunosuppressive therapy are generally required to continue to avoid certain exposures to protect themselves from infection. Your health care provider or LTFU can help you determine if your individual circumstances are different. If you have a Hickman catheter or other venous access device, you should avoid activities such as golfing and shooting rifles or shotguns to avoid dislodging the catheter. Go to the Information for Physicians page for more information.

Avoid: 

  • Herbal and naturopathic remedies
  • Swimming
  • Hot tubs
  • Gardening (digging, raking, mowing)
  • Sawdust (occasional woodworking with a dust mask ok)
  • Barns full of hay
  • New pets in the household
  • Sleeping with pets
  • Contact with pet waste
  • Domestic poultry (chickens, ducks, etc.)
  • Wild birds and animals (hunting OK, but don't handle or clean game)
  • Reptiles
  • Zoos and petting zoos
  • Baiting fish hooks or handling fish without gloves

Q. I am more than one year post-transplant, and I have been off systemic immunosuppressive therapy for a while. Can I return completely to my previous activities without limitations?   

Unless your health care provider has given you restrictions in your activities, most patients can begin to return to their previous activities once they are one year post-transplant and have stopped taking any systemic immunosuppressive therapy. However, patients who return to outdoor activities are strongly advised to minimize sun exposure through the proper use of sunscreen (more than SPF 15), hats, long-sleeved shirts and pants. The risk of skin cancer is much greater in people who have received radiation, have been on immunosuppressive therapy, or who have had chronic GVHD of the skin.