What to take to your cold capping chemo session

Published: September 23, 2021

Chemotherapy is a daunting prospect for all cancer patients. A combination of a fear of the unknown, nasty chemo side-effects, and the worry of how the chemo drugs are going to make you feel – it’s a lot to deal with.

Everyone will tell you to pack a chemo bag to help ease your anxiety. But what should you take with you?

Here are some suggestions of what to pack:

  • A journal to write down how you’re feeling
  • Headphones for music or mediation
  • Water or juice
  • Puzzle or a crossword book
  • Cozy blanket, scarf, and socks
  • Nausea relief such as peppermint essential oil or ginger tea
  • Healthy snacks
  • Lip balm and fragrance-free moisturizer – chemo can make your skin dry

Cold capping chemo sessions

And if you’ve decided to save your hair by cold capping during your chemo session, you may need to add a few extra things to your bag to make you as comfortable as possible.

When you order your Penguin Cold Caps you will be introduced to your local rep. They will take you through everything you need to know, recommend things to pack for your session, provide training for you and a partner or friend, as well as arrange for your personal cold capper to attend your chemo sessions with you if that’s what you prefer.

We asked customers, who have successfully saved their hair using Penguin Cold Caps, for their personal recommendations on what helped them. And here’s what they told us:

Dina wearing Penguin Cold Cap

Dina was 59 years old and about to retire when she was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma breast cancer.

Dina’s chemo bag recommendations:

  • A cotton ball in each ear will help protect them from the cold
  • A wet brush works even better than a wide-toothed comb
  • Your sense of humor and your phone – I shared pics of me cold capping from the infusion chair – yikes!
  • A journal to chronicle your hair each week helped me to show my minimal hair loss to all my family and friends

Read Dina’s story

Victoria is a 30-year-old graphic designer from Yonkers in New York City and was recently diagnosed with breast cancer.

Victoria’s recommendations:

  • I recommend taking Advil* if you get a headache
  • A good book
  • A good friend – chatting is a great distraction
  • A heated blanket and neck pillow – that helped a lot

Read Victoria’s story

Erin is a 31-year-old marketing manager from Oklahoma City and lives with her husband and two young children aged 4 and 1. 

Erin’s recommendations:

  • Biotin vitamins – I used these throughout my treatments and I think it helped decrease the Band-less earmuffs (ear bags) kept my ears warm and were easy to use during capping


Read Erin’s story

Rachel is a 37-year-old single mom with a four-year-old daughter and was diagnosed with stage one breast cancer.

Rachel’s recommendations:

  • Use a sheer stocking cap
  • It sounds weird – but take panty liners to cover your forehead and ears to prevent these areas from freezing. It definitely worked for me

Read Rachel’s story

ShantiShanti is a 42-year-old VP of Sales and lives in Southern California and was recently diagnosed with Stage 3 Ductal Carcinoma.

Shanti’s recommendations:

  • A partner or friend to help – Keeping the caps at the optimum temperature, and fitting and changing the caps for you is an important part of this process
  • Or a professional cold capper – paying someone to do it helps to alleviate the burden

Read Shanti’s story

LindsayLindsay is a mom of two boys aged 1 and 5 when she was diagnosed with stage 2B breast cancer.

Lindsay’s recommendations:

  • Use the same capper throughout the entire course of treatment
  • Get an electric blanket – it keeps the rest of your body warm, and works way better than hospital or other blankets
  • Use band-less earmuffs to protect your ears from the cold.

Read Lindsay’s story

We hope this is useful. If you’re thinking about cold capping with Penguin we can put you in touch with your local rep. They, in turn, will be able to introduce you to some of their customers who have already cold capped with Penguin.

*Always check with your medical team before taking any other medication alongside your chemo treatment

If you have any questions about cold capping, or anything else related to your chemo treatment, why not join the Facebook Chemotherapy Support Group – with thousands of members reaching out to each other, someone will no doubt be able to offer you first hand advice.