Medical Specialty >> Infections

Doctors Lounge - Infections Answers

Back to Infections Answers List

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately. Doctors Lounge ( does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, physicians, products, procedures, opinions, or other information that may be mentioned on the Site.

DISCLAIMER: The information provided on is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her physician. Please read our 'Terms and Conditions of Use' carefully before using this site.

Date of last update: 10/12/2017.

Forum Name: Other infections

Question: Primary Immune Deficiency- can a sick caregiver be a risk?

 Gammagirl - Wed Jul 07, 2010 6:12 pm

I have Common Variable Immune Deficiency and receive intravenous gammaglobulin treatments once a month to help my immune system fight infections. A nurse comes to my home to administer the medication. My nurse currently is sick with a recurrence of breast cancer, as well as a small secondary lung cancer, and is receiving chemotherapy. In addition to being a home care nurse, she also works in a hospital several times per week. I am concerned about whether the health of my nurse is a risk for me. Her employers do not know that she is ill. I currently have a sinus infection and bronchitis from what is usually a nosocomial infection, something that has occurred more frequently since this person became my nurse. Could she be a carrier of bugs that she may be exposed to at the hospital? I like this person very much on a personal level, but I have concerns about whether or not the situation is good for someone with my vulnerabilities. I also realize that I might get these infections anyway, but would appreciate input from more knowledgeable people than myself. Thanks.
 Debbie Miller, RN - Thu Jul 15, 2010 6:58 pm

User avatar Hello,
The kinds of illnesses your caregiver is fighting are not contagious and do not put you at risk. In addition to not being contagious, infections do not travel via a caregiver who practices normal good handwashing and procedures, even if they handle other infectious patients. The normal route of travel for infection is from one sick person to another; not carried by the caregiver who is not infected herself. In victorian times before modern medicine understood disease, doctors were known to go with bloody hands and coats from one patient to another. This could and did spread disease but now we know better.

While both of you are immune suppressed and susceptible to infection as a result, you are not at greater risk from this caregiver than from anyone else with whom you come in contact.

Best wishes.

| Check a doctor's response to similar questions

Are you a Doctor, Pharmacist, PA or a Nurse?

Join the Doctors Lounge online medical community

  • Editorial activities: Publish, peer review, edit online articles.

  • Ask a Doctor Teams: Respond to patient questions and discuss challenging presentations with other members.

Doctors Lounge Membership Application

Tools & Services: Follow DoctorsLounge on Twitter Follow us on Twitter | RSS News | Newsletter | Contact us