Diabetes Wound Care: 10 Must-Haves

Tips on maintaining healthy skin as we age

Keeping these wound care basics on hand can help a loved one with diabetes avoid skin disorders and serious complications.

A diabetic’s skin has two seemingly opposite enemies: dry, dehydrated skin, and moist, sweaty skin. Dry, cracked skin allows germs to enter the body, putting an individual at risk for infection. Skin that is too moist can lead to problems such as skin fungus and necrobiosis lipioidica, a rare skin disorder that causes painful lesions. Because of reduced circulation and problems with sensation, people with diabetes are at risk for complications from everyday cuts and scrapes. This is where a wound care kit can help.

Wound Care Essentials
  1. Nondrying daily cleansers. Use to wash your feet daily in lukewarm, not hot, water. Gently dry your feet, especially between the toes. It’s important to check your feet every day for blisters, cuts, sores, redness or swelling. Immediately clean, treat and cover wounds.
  2. Wound cleansers. Look for liquid cleansers and prep wipes specially made for gently removing debris and dressing residue from wounds. Here is a starting point: http://www.caregiverpartnership.com/category/40/. Your doctor may also recommend normal saline, available by prescription, or hydrogen peroxide.
  3. Triple-antibiotic cream. Use an antibiotic cream or ointment to treat cuts and scrapes if your doctor approves. After applying, cover the wound with sterile dressings.
  4. Replenishers and moisturizers. Regularly moisturize the skin on your feet to prevent drying and cracking. Apply lotion to the tops and bottoms of your feet, but avoid getting moisturizer in between the toes, which can encourage fungal growth.
  5. Skin protectants. Look for a barrier cream that protects skin by providing a sealant, such as Lantiseptic protectant, and apply after cleaning and drying. Use anti-fungal cream, powder or ointment to treat athlete’s foot or other fungal infection.
  6. Medicated powders. Apply talcum powder to areas of the body where moisture is likely to develop. Focus on areas where skin touches skin, such as armpits and groin area.
  7. Dressings and tape. Your wound care kit should include a non-adherent wound contact layer, sterile dressings, and surgical or retention tape. Find what you need here: http://www.caregiverpartnership.com/category/41/.
  8. Skin closure strips. Use these sterile strips to keep wounds closed and aid your skin in healing. Look for a porous material with hypoallergenic adhesive for optimal skin health.
  9. Compression wraps. Your doctor may recommend these to treat leg ulcers or other wounds.
  10. Phone number for a local wound care center or your doctor’s office. Call a wound care specialist immediately for even minor injuries and foot sores. 
Wound Prevention Tips
  • Run a humidifier in your home during the dry months of winter, and moisturize your skin to prevent chapping in cold, windy weather.
  • Follow a healthy lifestyle that includes drinking plenty of fluids, following a healthy diet with ample fruits and vegetables, exercising regularly, practicing good oral hygiene and taking medications as prescribed.
  • Wear wide, flat shoes that fit well.
  • Avoid harsh cleansers, bubble bath and feminine sprays, especially if you have dry skin.
  • Do not scratch dry, itchy skin, which may cause the skin to break open and get infected.

About The CareGiver Partnership. The CareGiver Partnership is a national direct-to-consumer retailer and caregiver resource providing support, convenience and old-fashioned customer service to those caring for a loved one. The company’s Web site provides the largest online library of resources on subjects most important to caregivers and offers more than 2,600 home care products. Product specialists answer the phone within three rings and assist in helping customers choose just the right products. The company also offers its patent-pending automatically scheduled delivery service, Never Run OutSM, which ships supplies automatically based on need. The CareGiver Partnership was founded in 2004 by Lynn and Tom Wilson of Neenah, Wisconsin. Visit http://www.caregiverpartnership.com/ to learn more.


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