Controlling Infection at St. Jude

Many St. Jude patients are at greater risk of infection. Does your child have a rash? Has your child been exposed to chicken pox (varicella) or any infection that could be passed to others, such as a virus or diarrhea? If so, a St. Jude staff member needs to check your child's condition before you allow your child to be near other St. Jude patients. Please call the hospital switchboard at (901) 595-3300 and ask for the nursing coordinator. If you are outside the Memphis area, dial toll-free 1-866-2ST-JUDE (1-866-278-5833). We can arrange:

Helping to Prevent Infection

St. Jude patients are more likely to get infections because of their illnesses and the treatments they receive. There might be periods during the course of your child’s disease when his immune system is not working well. At these times, your child should stay away from people, including relatives, who have illnesses that could spread to other people. One way to do this is to avoid crowds.

People should not visit the hospital if they have colds, the flu, or other illnesses that could spread to others. Remember: If your child has a rash, has been exposed to chicken pox (varicella) or has any infection that could be passed to other patients, the condition needs to be checked before your child gets near other St. Jude patients. In these cases, please call your primary clinic nurse or the nursing coordinator before coming to the hospital.

The best way to prevent infection is to clean your hands well and often using soap and water or an alcohol-based sanitizer. Try to keep everything that comes in contact with your child clean. If your child becomes an inpatient, everyone must wash their hands before entering and leaving the patient room.

A St. Jude staff member will clean the patient room daily. When this staff member comes to clean your child’s room, please do not ask that person to return later unless you need to be alone with your child at that time. To reduce dust and keep the room clean, limit the number of items, including toys, that you have in your child’s room. A build-up of clutter could prevent thorough cleaning of the room.

Only smooth-surfaced, easy-to-wash toys are allowed in inpatient rooms. If your child needs a small blanket or cloth toy for comfort, discuss this with the doctor. If allowed, the item will need regular washing. No flowers, plants, or standing water are allowed in patient rooms because of the bacteria and fungi that grow in them.

The air in the hospital is filtered to keep it as clean as possible. In inpatient rooms, we position the beds to give your child the most filtered air. Please do not move your child’s bed.

Use Clean Storage Containers

The use of cardboard shipping boxes for storing items in inpatient rooms is not permitted. Cardboard can harbor germs that can cause infections or allergies. Any storage container used should be cleaned often to prevent dust and germs from collecting.