Taking Care of Yourself

Two boys and lady having a run
Preventing Infections

Preventing Infections

There are many things that people with immunodeficiency can do to help them stay healthy.

Follow good general hygiene practices1

  • Bathe/shower regularly
  • Wash hands regularly
  • Brush/floss teeth regularly
  • Clean and dress any cuts/scrapes
  • Cook using good food hygiene (to avoid food poisoning)
  • Try to keep away from people with infections

Vaccinations (when recommended by your doctor)2

  • Most people treated with immunoglobulin replacement therapy do not need vaccines, but they may be recommended for some people
  • Certain vaccines should NOT be given to people with an immunodeficiency

Always contact your doctor whenever you suspect an infection.

Ask your doctor for vaccination advice for you or any family members or carers.

Managing general health

Eat a nutritious, balanced diet

  • Most people with an immunodeficiency do not need a special diet or supplements (unless they also have another condition)1
  • However, to reduce the risk of infection, people with immunodeficiency should generally avoid raw or undercooked dishes (e.g. meats, eggs and cheeses), water of unknown origin, or water that has remained too long in the same container1
  • Certain diets may be helpful if you suffer from gastrointestinal symptoms that are common in some PIDs2

Stay hydrated

  • Drinking enough water daily is important for health1
  • Recommended daily fluid intake (including plain water, milk and other drinks):3,4
Girls 14-18 YEARS Boys 14-18 YEARS Women >18 YEARS Men >18 YEARS
1.6 L/DAY 1.9 L/DAY 2.1 L/DAY 2.6 L/DAY
  • The amount of water you need depends on your diet, if you are sick, if you are pregnant/breastfeeding, how active you are, and how hot the weather is
  • Ask your doctor about your fluid intake if you have kidney or heart disease

Exercise regularly

  • Most people with an immunodeficiency can enjoy exercising and sports, just like everyone else
  • However, some people with some specific immunodeficiencies should not play contact sports, whilst others should avoid swimming in lakes or ponds, and gardening that involves digging or contact with rotting plant or tree material1,2

Ask your doctor if you’d like more advice on diet, lifestyle or exercise

  1. IPOPI. Primary immunodeficiencies - Stay healthy! A guide for patients and their families Available at: https://ipopi.org/wp-content/ uploads/2017/07/IPOI-Guide-for-patients-and-families-download.pdf 
  2. Immune Deficiency Foundation. Patient and family Handbook for Primary Immunodeficiency Diseases Australasian Edition https://primaryimmune.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/ Australasian-PFHB_2015.pdf Accessed July 2018 
  3. Better Health Channel. Water - a vital nutrient. Available at: https://www.betterhealth. vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/water-a-vital-nutrient
  4. Australian Government. National Health and Medical Research Council. Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand Water. Available at: https://www.nrv.gov.au/nutrients/water