Many people who have an allogeneic transplant, which uses cells from a family member, unrelated donor, or umbilical cord blood unit, will experience some symptoms of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). There are some steps you can take to help minimize the risk. However, in some cases, GVHD will happen despite all measures to prevent it. Here are some tips you can use to help limit the complications you may have and stay on the road to recovery.
Take your medications
Your doctor will prescribe medication to help prevent GVHD. Keep taking that medication, even if you are feeling healthy. Call your doctor immediately if you are unable to take the medication for any reason.
Protect yourself from the sun
Print the GVHD factsheet to keep these tips and more close at hand.
Exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays increases your risk for developing GVHD. Follow these tips to help limit your exposure to the sun.
- Avoid the sun as much as possible.
- When you must go out, make sure you wear a hat, sunglasses, long sleeves and pants.
- Apply SPF30 or higher sunscreen on any exposed skin. You can also wear SPF clothing.
- And don't forget: the sun on a cool overcast day is just as damaging as a hot, bright day.
Watch for warning signs and contact your doctor
Always be looking for the warning signs of GVHD. Most people experience some form of GVHD. Call your doctor right away and provide as much detail as you can. Early detection and treatment help limit the severity of GVHD.