Nobody knows your child better than you do. After a BMT, your child will need to take some steps in his everyday life to stay healthy and active. Here are some things to watch for:
- Body changes
Your child may see some changes in his body. Teenagers may be particularly sensitive to the changes in their body after a BMT. He may:
- Lose or gain weight
- Have skin color changes
- Get acne or stretch marks
- Grow more facial or body hair
Most of these changes will go away with time, or as his medicines change.
- Sun protection
The sun is even more dangerous if your child had a BMT. It can cause skin cancer, and it can trigger GvHD—or make it worse. To protect your child:
- Wear protective clothing
- Use sunblock that is 30 SPF or higher
- Going back to school
We understand your child wants to get back to school to see his friends, and as a parent, you want to make sure your child doesn’t fall behind in his studies. But, it is important that your child returns to school only after it is medically safe.
Every child recovers differently. We will work with you to get your child back to school as soon as possible.
- Vaccines (immunizations)
After a BMT, your child’s system for fighting diseases is weakened. So, we recommend checking with us if your child needs any vaccines the first year after his transplant. We can give your family doctor a vaccine schedule to follow to help make sure your child does not get a vaccine too soon.
- Blood pressure
Because of the medicines your child takes after his BMT, your child’s blood pressure may be high, called hypertension. Though this is normal for children with BMTs, your child may need to take medicine to keep his blood pressure under control.
- Mouth care
After a BMT, your child’s system for fighting infections in his mouth is weakened. It is really important to regularly clean his mouth to help keep him from getting sores in his mouth, which can become infected.
- Skin care
For teenagers already undergoing body changes, your child’s BMT can cause his skin to be darker, more sensitive or dry for many months. This is a common side effect of the treatments your child received. Most of these will go away with time.
Most pets are fine, but talk with your doctor to see if it is OK to have a pet near your child.
Making sure your child eats well is important after his BMT. We will give you food safety instructions to follow.
Your child may have to take medicines for months after his BMT. It is important that he takes all his medicine on time—every day. Taking his medicines on time is the best way to fight GvHD.