Cancer & Caregiving

Safe Father’s Day Plans for Mesothelioma Patients

Written By:
Jun 17, 2021
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Written By: Sean Marchese, MS, RN,
June 17, 2021

June is National Men’s Health Month, which is the perfect time to increase awareness of issues men face, including how to prevent severe illness and maintain good overall health.

This month also includes Father’s Day, and after a challenging year navigating a pandemic, many families are ready to celebrate together again.

For family members and caregivers of loved ones living with mesothelioma, jumping back into in-person celebrations can be hard to navigate. Vaccination rates vary across the U.S., and state guidelines are rapidly changing.

Thankfully, there are still plenty of ways to celebrate Father’s Day safely and responsibly, allowing for all the fun many of us have missed for many months.

New CDC Guidelines for Activities Encourage Full Vaccination

In May 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new guidelines for fully vaccinated people in non-health care settings.

In general, people are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or two weeks after the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

If everyone in your Father’s Day party is fully vaccinated, the CDC guidelines allow for almost any activity that isn’t a large-scale, crowded indoor gathering.

Safe activities for fully vaccinated people include:

  • Walk, run, wheelchair roll or bike outdoors with members of your household.
  • Attend a small outdoor gathering with fully vaccinated and unvaccinated people.
  • Dine at an outdoor restaurant with friends from multiple households.
  • Attend a crowded outdoor event such as a live performance, parade or sports event.
  • Go to an uncrowded indoor shopping center or museum.
  • Attend a small indoor gathering of fully vaccinated and unvaccinated people from multiple households.
  • Go to an indoor movie theater.
  • Eat at an indoor restaurant or bar.

Immunocompromised Patients Should Use Caution

Many of these examples work well as Father’s Day activities, but there are extra considerations to keep in mind for patients with mesothelioma.

Patients undergoing active cancer treatment such as chemotherapy, radiation or immunotherapy for mesothelioma may have a lowered immune system. In addition, studies have shown that immunocompromised patients do not develop a strong antibody response to COVID-19 and may still be at risk for the virus.

A report published June 5 found that patients at cancer treatment centers receiving immunosuppressive therapies had a response rate of roughly 70% to the COVID-19 vaccines. In comparison, cancer patients with healthy immune systems and solid tumors such as mesothelioma had a vaccine response rate of 98%.

The safest practice for fully vaccinated mesothelioma patients during Father’s Day activities is to follow the guidance of local businesses. Bring a face mask or covering if the restaurant or event location requires one, and continue social distancing with people not in your party.

Federal guidelines still require everyone to wear a mask while traveling on planes, buses, trains and other forms of public transportation, both in and out of the United States. Frequent handwashing with soap and water or hand sanitizer also helps decrease the risk of disease.

Safe Alternatives Prevent Unnecessary Risk

As families come together again to celebrate Father’s Day, choosing safe alternatives to popular activities is an excellent way to ensure the health of loved ones with mesothelioma.

Create a Restaurant Experience at Home

Instead of going out to a crowded restaurant to eat and waiting long times for a table, many companies offer catering services for a similar experience at home. Catering services are also good options for loved ones on a mesothelioma diet with food requirements.

Available for pick-up or shipping, online catering packages contain table settings, meals ready to prepare and even centerpieces such as flowers. These services also often provide return shipping instructions or, for local options, someone to help pack up the rented items.

Share Memories and Focus on Quality Time

Creating something for that special dad on Father’s Day is one of the best ways to express gratitude and love. A fun, inexpensive idea is to make a film highlighting places or things with shared meaning between you and your loved one.

If you’re not video- or recording-inclined, a scrapbook or collage works well, too. It’s a keepsake that you can both share for many years to come.

These gifts are also good options for older adults with cognitive limitations, such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. In those cases, lengthy conversations or activities can be stressful or frustrating, and a personal keepsake can help strengthen memories of shared bonds.

Plan a Day of Outdoor Fun

Fun outdoor activities don’t necessarily need to be exhausting, a particular concern for mesothelioma patients. To help prepare, compile a care package for Father’s Day that includes all the ingredients for a memorable day.

A picnic in the park, bird watching, an outdoor movie or the classic fishing trip are all relaxing activities that are low impact and safer than crowded indoor events. Even a walk through a state park or reading together outdoors is quality time spent with a dad who will be more than happy just being around the people he loves most.

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