Tips to Protect Your Skin

Tips to Protect Your Skin

Screen Shot 2018-05-16 at 3.25.56 PMSkin breakdown is a frequent issue for individuals with Spina Bifida. This can be due to sensory loss, immobility, wheelchair use, excessive moisture due to incontinence or perspiration, bony deformity, obesity, and/or executive function challenges.

In the 2015 paper “Pressure Ulcers in Spina Bifida,” National Spina Bifida Patient Registry (NSBPR) data was used to explore the incidence of wounds in patients in the Registry. Of 3,153 total participants, 19% reported ulcers at their most recent annual clinic visit. When examining other literature, the annual prevalence rate varies from 15% to 77% among members of the Spina Bifida community.

Inspecting your skin daily ensures that lesions can be identified early – prior to their developing into deeper wounds. Once a wound develops, healing can be impaired by the very same issues that led to the wound developing in the first place (lack of movement, lack of feeling, etc.) and may result in hospitalization and, all too often, loss of limb or death.

Here are some tips for protecting your skin:

  1. Check for color changes or breaks in the skin. Pay close attention to the skin under your braces and over bony areas like your hips, bottom, knees, and feet.
  2. Use a mirror or ask for help to check the areas you can’t see. AD Products, LLC (www.admirrorsystems.com) offers a convenient hands-free mirror system that provides viewing assistance to users of any age. In 2018, they are offering a $30 discount to members of the Spina Bifida community when you purchase a Home or Trooper System and use the code SBAA during checkout. admirror system
  3. Keep your skin clean by showering or taking a bath every day. Check the water temperature before getting into the shower or bathtub.
  4. Keep your skin dry. Dry your skin completely after taking a shower or bath. Make sure you dry between your toes, between skin folds, behind your knees, your upper thighs, and your bottom.
  5. Change your underwear, clothes, socks, and sheets every time they get wet. Keep an extra set of clothing in your backpack in case of an accident.
  6. Use a barrier cream if your bottom and upper thighs are always wet.
  7. When sitting, relieve pressure by shifting your weight for 15 seconds, every 15 minutes.
  8. Turn yourself in bed or ask for help if you need it.
  9. Avoid sliding across rough or uneven surfaces.
  10. Use braces, shoes, a wheelchair, and a cushion that fit properly and that do not rub against your skin.
  11. Maintain a healthy weight for your age and size.
  12. Wear sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses, and protective clothing when you’re out in the sun.

Content for this blog post was taken from SBA’s Did You Look? Skin Integrity Bundle. Visit http://spinabifidaassociation.org/resources/didyoulook for more information.  Screen Shot 2017-07-11 at 1.01.48 PM


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