Catheter Area Skin Irritation and Breakdown Prevention

Provide your skin with a barrier to keep it protected.  
Individuals who must have a catheter, due to incontinence, or any other reason, need to know how to prevent skin irritation and breakdown. Moisture is one of the main causes of irritation and breakdown. When skin has prolonged exposure to moisture, it weakens the skin integrity, and the skin breaks down more readily, can become irritated or inflamed. Thus, protecting the skin from moisture should be a top priority. 

The following are some tips for helping to protect the skin and prevent skin problems:

1. While it is very important to keep the skin dry, it is also important to keep it clean. Wash the area around the catheter daily, more if needed. Use a gentle cleanser specially formulated for those with incontinence. The skin should maintain a good pH to prevent breakdown, maceration, and other irritation. Consider cleansing with a pH balanced cleanser such as Lantiseptic Perineal Wash Spray or Foamer. This is superior to soap and water because it is specially formulated for incontinence. This means it is designed to clean fecal matter and urine off the skin with minimal scrubbing, reducing friction and irritation. It is also designed to prevent dryness of skin.

2. After washing, be sure to dry the area carefully. Allow to air dry, or gently pat dry with a clean towel. Do not rub. Friction can cause skin irritation and breakdown, especially in an already sensitive area, such as the site of a catheter.

3. Next, provide your skin with a barrier of sorts to keep it protected from moisture, whether that moisture is from perspiration, or incontinence. Use a zinc-oxide based ointment to protect the skin from urine, feces, and moisture. Lantiseptic Multi-Purpose Skin Ointment is a great option. It will help reduce the skin’s exposure to moisture, by acting as a barrier.

4. Use gloves and sterilized equipment for irrigation and drainage to prevent cross contamination or infection. To maintain the skin’s integrity, measures should be taken to prevent exposure to bacteria and germs. You can easily find gloves, sterile wipes, and other products for your incontinence needs using The Incontinence Product Finder.

5. Report any signs of infection to a doctor. Skin irritation and breakdown can lead to infection and severe discomfort for the individual. Keep an eye on the catheter skin area and consult a professional if there is redness, swelling, pus, or other signs of infection.

You can find great products to add to your skin care regimen to protect catheter area skin, or for dealing with incontinence.
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About The CareGiver Partnership. The CareGiver Partnership helps caregivers and their loved ones with answers to their caregiving questions, including information about home health care products and supplies, from our Wisconsin-based team of Product Specialists who are all current or former caregivers. The company’s Web site provides the largest online library of resources on subjects most important to caregivers — from arthritis to assisted living, and Parkinson’s to prostate cancer — as well as access to more than 3,000 home care products for incontinence, skin care, mobility, home safety and daily living aids. The CareGiver Partnership was founded in 2004 by Lynn Wilson of Neenah, Wisc. Visit to learn more or call 1-800-985-1353.


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