If you’re a wheelchair user, keeping your skin healthy is of utmost importance. The loss of sensation and muscle function, along with poor circulation, can combine to cause pressure sores. A multifaceted approach can help you minimize the risk of developing pressure sores and maintain optimum skin health.
Vigilance is key to maintaining skin health. Inspect your body daily for troublesome signs, such as rashes, cuts, scrapes and bruises. Use a mirror to check the places you can’t see. If any area looks especially troublesome, consult your health care professional.
Good nutrition can help you avoid pressure sores and speed healing if you’ve developed them. It can also reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, which can undermine your skin’s integrity. Your diet should include ample water — enough to keep your urine clear or light-colored, as well as low-fat protein and lots of fruits and vegetables. If bowel regularity is an issue, bananas are a good source of fiber. Limit caffeine, as it’s a diuretic. As far as nutritional supplements go, vitamins A, C and E and zinc are especially important for skin health.
Here are other steps you can take to ensure healthy skin:
- Avoid smoking, as this constricts blood vessels and circulation.
- Keep your skin clean and dry. Pay special attention to folds in your skin, where rashes can easily develop. Wash these areas frequently.
- Stay away from antibacterial soaps, which can interfere with your skin’s ability to fight off infection.
- Use a moisturizer, especially on bony areas. A lubricant can soften these areas and make them less prone to pressure irritation.
Change your position in your wheelchair frequently. If you sleep on your side, put a pillow between your knees to keep them from rubbing together. In addition, avoid temperature extremes and clothing that is either too loose or too constricting.
Contact Power Mobility and Lifts with any questions about wheelchairs, lifts and accessories. We provide service throughout Arizona.