Common questions and concerns when you receive a transplant organ

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Can I have visitors?

After your transplant, you can have visitors come and see you at home as long as they’re healthy.

Your immune system will be weaker in the first three months after transplant, so it’s best to hang out with one or two friends at a time and not in large groups. But no matter how many friends you are with, make sure they are free of any colds, flus or cold sores, as these can easily make you very sick.

After about three months, you can start hanging out with larger groups of people, but still avoid anyone who is sick. Continue to wash your hands often and always before you eat or prepare your medications.

Can I go to the movies or mall?

If you’re going out with friends in the first one or two months, avoid concerts, big sports events, movie theatres on the weekends or any other place where you will be close to a lot of strangers. A daytime movie during the week is ok if the theatre is quiet and you can sit away from most people.

Teen girl wearing sweater outside

Can I go outside in the cold?

Yes, it is good to go for walks outside. The cold will not make you sick! The most important thing is to dress for the weather, so wrap up in the colder months.

Do I need to be careful with pets?

It is not recommended to get a new cat or dog for the first six months after transplant. However, it’s fine to keep cats and dogs that were already part of your family before your surgery as long as you follow some basic tips.

  • If you have a cat, keep it indoors. Cats can pick up infections while hunting rodents and other animals. You should also have someone else clean the cat’s litter box if possible.
  • For cats and dogs, make sure you wash your hands after touching them.
  • Let someone else clean up after a cat or dog and take care of them when they’re sick. Animal urine, feces (poo) and vomit can carry harmful bacteria or viruses that can easily make you very sick.
  • If you absolutely must clean up after a cat or dog yourself, wear gloves and wash your hands.
  • Don’t let your cat or dog lick your face.

If you did not own a bird or reptile (such as a snake, lizard or turtle) before your transplant, it is not recommended that you get one afterwards. Birds and reptiles can carry viruses, bacteria and fungi that are dangerous to people with weak immune systems.

What about going on vacation?

You will be able to travel once your transplant organ function is stable and you’re feeling better. This usually takes at least:

  • six months after a liver transplant
  • 12 months after a kidney transplant.

Always let your transplant team know about any travel plans well ahead of time so they can advise you how best to prepare.

Last updated: November 30th 2017