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Social life and activities during chemotherapy

With a bit of planning and a few precautions, your social life can still go ahead. 

Your social life

You might not always be able to do the things you take for granted. But you don't need to stop your social life completely. You may just find you need to plan ahead a bit more.

These tips can help:

  • Get some rest during the day if you're going out at night – you'll have more energy for the evening.
  • You can take some anti sickness tablets before you go out for a meal if you think you’ll need them.
  • Drinking a little alcohol probably won't affect most types of chemotherapy – but check with your doctor first.
  • To avoid getting an infection, always eat freshly cooked food - avoid raw meat, fish, eggs, soft cheese and take away foods.
  • If you have an important social event coming up, ask your doctor whether they can arrange your chemo so that you’re between treatments that week.

Infections and vaccines

Avoid family or friends who might have infections such as chicken pox. Let your doctor know if you think you’ve been in contact with someone who could have chicken pox. 

You should not have any live vaccines while you’re having chemotherapy. It’s safe for you to be around other people who've had live vaccines as injections.

But there can be problems with live vaccines taken by mouth (oral vaccines).This includes the rotavirus vaccine that babies have. You can be infected by the virus for 2 weeks after a baby has had the vaccine. So during this time, be very careful about handwashing and avoid changing nappies if at all possible. Your doctor or chemo nurse can talk to you about this.

Your doctor might advise you and your family to have the seasonal flu vaccine. It is important to have the flu jab before the virus starts to circulate in the population. This is most likely to happen during the winter months.

Talk to your specialist about having the flu jab if you’re in the middle of chemotherapy treatment. Your immune system is weaker, so the vaccine might not work quite so well. Your specialist will tell you the best time to have a flu jab.


Many people like to plan a holiday for the end of their treatment. It’s something to mark the end of your chemo and something to look forward to. Hopefully it will allow you to rest and begin to get back to normal.

You might enjoy your trip more if you wait for a few weeks after your last treatment. Some people find the end of their treatment quite difficult. Although you'll be pleased the treatment is at an end, it can feel quite strange to start focusing on other things again.

Waiting a few weeks might help you adjust back to normal home life. You can then go off on holiday without worrying about how you will cope when you get home.

There are a few extra things you need to think about when you’re travelling. You'll find some useful information and tips below.

Information and help

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About Cancer generously supported by Dangoor Education since 2010.