The Importance of Hygiene

Practicing good hygiene has a wealth of benefits, including reducing your chances for illnesses, diseases, and infections. Plus, there is absolutely no risk for practicing good hygiene! It can be a difficult topic to discuss, but it doesn’t have to be. Caring about your wellbeing should be one of the most important practices for a long, happy, and healthy life. We care about your wellbeing, so we are going to discuss some of the things you can do to maintain good hygiene and cleanliness.

How Good Hygiene Affects You

Practicing good hygiene is beneficial to your overall  physical and mental health and more than just being clean. Keeping your entire body clean from head to toe not only helps prevent illnesses and infections from harmful bacteria, but it can give your self-esteem a boost. We tend to feel better when we take care of ourselves. There are many personal hygiene habits to incorporate into your everyday routine to make sure you keep yourself and the environment around you hygienic.

Types of Personal Hygiene

Hand Hygiene

Washing your hands is one of the easiest habits to practice to prevent the spread of germs to your eyes, mouth, food, as well as to those around you. Any time you handle food, garbage, pet an animal, sneeze, or use the restroom, you should wash your hands. Follow the 5-step rule for washing hands:

  1. Wet – Get your hands wet with clean water.
  2. Lather – Apply soap to your hands and work up a lather.
  3. Scrub – For at least 20 seconds, scrub your hands.
  4. Rinse – With clean water, rinse your hands free of the soap lather.
  5. Dry – Use either a towel or air dry your hands.

If you do not have a water source, you can also choose to use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Oral Hygiene

By brushing and flossing your teeth, you are helping to prevent gum disease, cavities, and bad breath. You should practice brushing your teeth twice a day; once in the morning and once at night. Adding a antimicrobial mouthwash to your routine can also help reduce the number of bacteria in the mouth and prevent tooth decay. It is suggested to replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months and visit a dentist for routine cleanings every 6 months.

Click here for a handy infographic about brushing your teeth: Brushing-Your-Teeth

Nail Hygiene

Keeping your nails clean helps prevent the spread of germs into your mouth and other areas of the body. Trimming your nails regularly to make sure there aren’t any sharp edges or hangnails and using a nail file to smooth them keeps fingernails looking nice. Using a soft nail brush or washcloth can also help remove and rinse any dirt or buildup underneath the nail. Refraining from biting your nails and picking at the cuticles is necessary for good nail hygiene. If you use nail polish remover, try opting for an acetone-free formula.

Body/Skin/Hair Hygiene

Taking a shower or bath is essential to wash away dead skin cells, bacteria, and oils. The skin is the largest organ of the body and contains 2 layers. The thin outer layer is made up of dead skin cells that are constantly shed and replaced by new cells. The thick inner layer is made up of blood vessels, nerves, and hair follicles that contain glands. These glands produce an oily substance called sebum, which helps the skin and hair from drying out. Washing your body and hair daily removes dirt, oil, and those dead skin cells before they can accumulate. Make sure to pay attention to your armpits, groin, ears, elbows, back, and feet. All-in-one no-rinse alternatives such as the DermaRite 4-N-1 No-Rinse Wash are also handy for frequent cleansing.

Foot Hygiene

Fungal organisms love moisture, so keeping feet clean and dry will help prevent them from thriving. Our feet have sweat glands, too! Wear socks to trapping away moisture and make sure that your shoes fit properly. Trimming your toenails and using a nail file to smooth the edges helps to avoid ingrown toenails and allows you to check them for any infections, sores, or discoloration of the nails. Examining your feet is important, especially if you have diabetes since it increases the risk of foot sores and infections.

Food Hygiene

In order to prevent food-borne illness, certain food safety practices are used when handling, preparing, and storing food. Spoiled or rotten food can smell, however not all harmful bacteria have a scent. Making sure to clean your hands before handling food, cooking food to the proper temperature, and storing food promptly are ways to practice good food hygiene. When using a cutting board, make sure to sanitize it after every use. Wooden and plastic cutting boards are porous and bacteria can lurk behind in grooves made by a knife. Keeping hair up and out of the face prevents it from landing in food and wearing an apron protects your clothing from coming in contact with the food.

Clothing Hygiene

Dirty clothes, especially socks and underwear, can harbor microorganisms which can lead to skin infections. Not washing your clothing can have an impact on your overall health. Body odor can arise from stains on clothing that bacteria accumulates on. Fungi and bacteria thrive in warm, moist, and dark environments, causing bad smells and other conditions such as athlete’s foot. Not only should you wash your clothes, you need to remember to wash your bathroom and kitchen towels regularly as well. To avoid cross-contamination, try not to share towels and clothing.

Side Effects of Poor Hygiene

Poor personal hygiene can have minor side effects, but can also lead to more serious ones. Here are just a few of the side effects from poor personal hygiene.

  • You can transfer germs and other harmful bacteria to your eyes and mouth by not washing your hands. Issues such as pink eye and stomach viruses happen as a result of not routinely washing your hands.
  • Not brushing your teeth regularly can lead to plaque buildup causing cavities, gum disease, and other teeth issues, not to mention bad breath. Some research has also shown a link between gum disease and heart disease.
  • You can get Athlete’s Foot if you often walk around barefoot, especially in public areas where infection can spread such as swimming pools, shower areas, and locker rooms. This is a contagious fungal infection that thrives in moist environments and can spread to the toenails and hands.
  • Body odor and greasy hair are also side effects of poor personal hygiene. Maintaining a good cleansing routine will help keep you looking and feeling fresh, giving you a sense of pride in your appearance. Those around you will appreciate it, too.
  • Bacteria breeds in unclean environments such as the kitchen and dining areas, therefore leading to contamination of food. It is imperative to wash your hands prior to preparing food to keep bacteria from entering our bodies. Make sure to clean up and properly store leftovers, taking note of expiration dates. You could end up with diarrhea or even food poisoning if food is not correctly handled.

Choosing the Right Personal Hygiene Products

Depending on the situation, there are many different kinds of personal hygiene products available for a variety of needs. Almost all toiletries and cleaning supplies come in multiple sizes and formulas. There are specific personal hygiene products on the market for those with limited mobility, are traveling, or do not have access to a water supply.

Rinse-free Body Washes

All-in-one body washes such as the ConvaTec Aloe Vesta Shampoo and Body Wash gently and effectively cleanses, conditions, and deodorizes when there is no accessible water source. These formulas serve the need of bed ridden patients and the elderly where rinsing is difficult. Most can be used anywhere on the body, including perineal areas since they are non-irritating and alcohol-free. This type of product is great for traveling and camping as well.

Personal Cleansing Wipes

Personal cleansing wipes are great for the entire body. Since they come in convenient tubs or pouches, they are easy to transport on-the-go. You can quickly and conveniently use these personal wipes to cleanse your hands, as a facial wipe, to disinfect a surface, or even as a substitute for toilet paper. Look for wipes that are pH-balanced, alcohol-free, fragrance-free, and contain aloe to soothe the skin such as the ConvaTec Aloe Vesta Bathing Cloths. These wipes are large, easy-to-use, rinse-free, and disposable, making them a great choice for everyday use as well as for travel.

Hand Sanitizers

Hand sanitizers act quickly to kill 99% of microrganisms on the hands and can be less irritating than soap and water. They are effective against both bacteria and viruses and come in a variety of sizes suitable for travel and larger group settings. Some even contain Vitamin E and Aloe to moisturize as they disinfect such as McKesson’s Premium Hand Sanitizer. In order for hand sanitizers to work effectively, make sure to choose one that contains at least 60% alcohol.

Bed Pads and Underpads

Protecting your mattress, chair, car seat, and couch with a hygiene product like a bed pad or underpad can help trap leaks during the day and night if you suffer from incontinence. There are reusable protective bed pads such as the Birdseye Reusable Soaker Underpad and there are also disposable bedpads such as the Covidien Simplicity Basic Underpad. Reusable bad pads are typically more expensive and made of a washable material, but you may save more money long-term. On the other hand, disposable bed pads are meant for single-use, which means you will use more of them. Choosing a bed pad or underpad that has a waterproof outer edge and flaps to tuck in for security can help you feel comfortable and protected day or night. Did you know that you can also use bed pads and underpads for potty training pets?

Caring for yourself is good for both your physical health and your mental health. Maintaining a hygienic lifestyle is important to prevent and control illnesses. Getting into a good personal hygiene routine may be difficult for some and might take some patience and practice, but it is worth every effort. You should speak to your doctor if you are having a hard time adapting to good personal hygiene habits.

For any questions about the personal hygiene products we carry or need guidance on how to use them, our Personally Delivered Product Experts are just a phone call away and happy to help.

Face Masks & Respirators: Choosing the Right Type for the Protection You Need

When it comes to health, we all want the best for ourselves and our families. With Coronavirus (COVID 19) and flu season in full peak, many are seeking out ways to protect themselves from particles in the air that can be infectious. Face masks and respirators are two types of personal protective equipment (PPE) that are used to protect the wearer from liquid and airborne particles that may potentially come in contact with their nose and mouth. Both are a part of an infection-control strategy; however, there are significant differences between the two. Choosing the right mask is critical in helping protect the health and safety for yourself and those around you.

What are Face Masks?

A face mask is a disposable, loose-fitting, and comfortable device that creates a physical barrier between the mouth and nose of the wearer. The mask provides protection from potential contaminants in the immediate environment and may come with or without a face shield. Offered in a variety of thicknesses, some are able to protect more than others when coming into contact with fluids.

A face mask is meant to help block splashes, sprays, or large particle droplets of blood or bodily fluids that may contain bacteria or viruses from reaching the mouth and nose. Face masks also help protect others against infection from the person wearing the mask.

There are two main types of medical face masks; surgical face masks and procedure face masks.

The Difference Between a Surgical and Procedure Face Mask

Clinicians wear a surgical mask when they need to protect themselves and the environment around them from contamination such as fluids and debris in the operating room. Surgical masks usually feature ties so that they can be adjusted for a comfortable fit.

A procedure mask, on the other hand, is typically used as more of an etiquette device to prevent the spreading of germs through talking, sneezing, and coughing. They are also used to protect both a doctor and patient during routine medical procedures such as dental cleaning or physical exams. Procedure masks feature ear loops, making them easy to put on and take off.

According to ASTM, surgical and procedure face masks are offered in 3 different levels of protection. ASTM International is one of the largest standards for the testing of face masks in 5 different areas recognized by the FDA.

What is ASTM?

ASTM refers to the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM). ASTM is one of the world’s largest international standards organization that develops and publishes technical standards that cover areas such as construction, metal, paints, the environment, consumer products, medical devices and service, and so much more.

ASTM performs a test on the surgical and procedure masks and then assigns a numerical rating for the barrier performance of the material at the follow 3 different levels:

  • Level 1 – Face masks that are ideal for environments that have a low risk of fluid exposure.
  • Level 2 – Face masks that are ideal for environments that have a moderate risk of fluid exposure.
  • Level 3 – Face masks that are ideal for environments that have a high risk of fluid exposure

How Are Face Masks Tested?

The FDA, who oversees the sale and marketing of all surgical masks, recommends that manufacturers demonstrate mask performance in 5 areas:

  1. Fluid Resistance – Test that evaluates the resistance of a medical face mask to the penetration of a small volume of synthetic blood at a high velocity.
  2. Breathability – Test to determine the face mask’s resistance to airflow.
  3. Bacterial Filtration (BFE) – Test that measures the percentage of bacteria (less than 1 micron) filtered out by the mask.
  4. Particulate Filtration (PFE) – Test that measures the percentage of particles larger than 1 micron filtered out by the mask.
  5. Flammability – Test that exposes the face mask material to a flame and measures the time required for the flame to proceed up the material.

Both surgical and procedure face masks may be effective in blocking splashes and large-particle droplets, but they do not block or filter the very small particles in the air during medical procedures. Because of the loose fit  of these types of face masks, they don’t  provide complete protection from germs and other contaminants. A respirator may be a better choice for protection from dusts and microorganisms, as well as other hazardous vapors and fumes.

What is a Respirator?

A respirator is a device worn over the mouth and nose or the entire face to protect and prevent the inhalation of dangerous chemicals and other contaminants. According to OSHA, there are two main types of respirators, as described below.

Atmosphere-Supplying Respirator

An atmosphere-supplying respirator is used in environments with limited or no oxygen or areas with contaminated air. This type of respirator supplies the wearer with clean air directly from another source other than the air around them. A good example of this type of respirator is the Self -Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) that firefighters wear upon enter a building filled with smoke and other hazardous chemicals.

Other industries that would require workers to use an atmosphere-supplying respirator would be welders, pipefitters, municipal road pavers, and imdustrial plant workers.

Air-Purifying Respirator

An air-purifying respirator, on the other hand, filters out the contaminants in the air around the wearer that is being inhaled. This type of respirator features either filters, canisters, or cartridges that remove the contaminants passing through the purifying element.

The N95 air-purifying repirators are good examples of air-purifying respirators and are often used in hospital settings to protect against transmission of infectious diseases. As you breathe, this respirator cleans and blocks at least 95% of the very small particles out of the air. When properly fitted, this mask does not allow any gaps around the face for contaminants to enter, forcing the air to be pulled through the respirator’s filter material.

These respirators are intended for use in low hazardous areas and do not protect against chemicals, gases, or vapors where you would need to choose an alternate air-purifying respirator, such as a full face gas and vapor respirator.

Can Anyone Wear a Respirator?

Anytime you put a device over your nose and mouth, breathing becomes more difficult. Wearing a respirator may be challenging for those with lung diseases such as emphysema or asthma. Some people with vision problems find it hard to see while wearing a respirator. Luckily, there are special respirators for people who wear glasses.

The N95 respirator can also make breathing more difficult for the elderly and those with chronic respiratory or cardiac conditions. It is advised that children and those with facial hair should not wear this type of respirator as a proper tight fit will be difficult to achieve for the needed protection.

Where to Buy Face Masks and Respirators

At Personally Delivered, we carry a wide range of face masks and respirators. Depending on the environment you are exposed to, determines what type of face mask or respirator you’ll require to breathe safely and be protected from infectious diseases and other hazardous contaminants around you.  Always consult with your doctor about what is best for your specific needs.

For any questions about the face masks and respirators we carry, our Personally Delivered Product Experts are just a phone call away.

Wound Care Dressings: Different Types & Uses

There are so many different wound care dressings available on the market today and each are made to serve a variety of purposes depending on the type of wound you are caring for. It is important to choose the right dressing because that will make an impact on the healing process of the wound. Caring for a wound, no matter if it is a minor cut or a major incision, is crucial to prevent infection or further complications. Wound dressings are designed to aid the healing process by optimizing the local wound environment. We will highlight some of the most commonly used wound care dressings here, how to use them, and if any are covered by Medicare.

Types of Wound Care Dressings

Hydrocolloid Wound Care Dressings

Hydrocolloid wound care dressings are made of hydrophilic colloidal particles like gelatin, pectin, and cellulose. They are typically used on non-infected wounds such as burns, light to moderately draining wounds, pressure ulcers, and necrotic wounds. When the hydrocolloid dressing comes into contact with the surface of the wound, the fluids are absorbed by these hydrophilic particles which then turn into a gel over the wound’s surface. This provides a protected and moist healing environment so new tissue can form.

Since the hydrocolloid wound care dressing adheres to the skin, no additional tape is required either. Most of these dressings have a waterproof backing to lower the risk of bacteria entering, allowing the user to proceed with routine bathing. This dressing is also biodegradable and breathable, making it a safe choice for wound care. Be sure to take a look at the variety of hydrocolloid wound dressings we offer on our website.

How to Use Hydrocolloid Wound Care Dressings

  1. First, clean the wound site with a saline solution.
  2. Make sure to dry the skin around the wound with sterile gauze.
  3. Remove the paper backing and center the dressing over the wound, gently smoothing out the edges in a rolling motion.
  4. Hold the dressing in place with the palm of your hand. The warmth from your hand will transfer through the dressing to help it mold to the skin.
  5. If the hydrocolloid dressing doesn’t have its own border, frame it with tape to held the edges down and keep them from rolling.

Hydrocolloid wound care dressings should remain in place longer than other dressings in order to leave the wound undisturbed for a longer period of time. It is usually suggested to replace the dressing every 3-7 days. Always consult your doctor as they may suggest alternative steps for your specific wound type.

Hydrogel Wound Care Dressings

Hydrogel wound care dressings are gel-based and are a great way to add moisture to dry wound beds. Because of their high glycerin and water content, they are typically used with a secondary dressing. Hydrogels help to cool down the wound and are beneficial for second degree or higher burns, pressure ulcers, and wounds that are dry or dehydrated. By keeping the wound site moist, these dressings aid in protecting from further infection, which promotes faster healing.

Hydrogel wound care dressings are typically offered in three different forms:

  1. Amorphous Hydrogel Wound Care Dressings: A free-flowing gel that is distributed in tubes, spray bottles, or foil packets. This is an easy option to get into the cracks and crevices of puncture and deep wounds. A secondary dressing is usually used to keep this hydrogel in place.
  2. Impregnated Hydrogel Wound Care Dressings: This gel is usually saturated into nonwoven sponge ropes/strips or onto a gauze pad. These can then be packed or laid over depending on the depth of the wound. A secondary dressing is typically used to make sure everything stays in place to protect the wound.
  3. Sheet Hydrogel Wound Care Dressing: This is gel that is held together by a thin fiber mesh and then cut to fit the wound. This type of hydrogel dressing is great for those with sensitive skin.

How to Use Hydrogel Wound Care Dressings

  1. First, make sure to thoroughly wash your hands.
  2. Remove the dressing from its packaging if it is a sheet or impregnated type. Use scissors that have been sterilized and cut the dressing to a size that will cover the entire wound site.
  3. Gently place the dressing to cover the entire wound.
  4. For amorphous hydrogels, apply the dressing to cover the wound, making sure to fill in all the nooks and crannies of deep wounds.
  5. Use a secondary bandage or fixing tape to securely hold the dressing in place.
  6. It is recommended to change hydrogel dressings daily.

Alginate Wound Care Dressings

Alginate wound care dressings are used for wounds that have a high amount of drainage and require more absorbency. Biodegradable fibers made from acids obtained from brown seaweed, these dressings come into contact with fluid and a gel forms to protect and aid in healing of the wound. Sometimes calcium, silver, or honey are added to the fibers for  antimicrobial protection during the healing process.

Alginate wound care dressings are manufactured into a range of products such as ropes, ribbons, and flat sheets. For packing cavity wounds, ropes and ribbons are used, whereas surface wounds call for the flat sheets. The AQUACEL Ag Ribbon Wound Dressing, the Promogran Prisma Matrix Wound Care Dressing, and the MEDIHONEY Calcium Alginate Wound Care Dressing are a few examples of these types of wound dressings.

It is not recommended to use alginate dressings on wounds that are dry, have light to no drainage, surgical wounds, or 3rd degree burns. This dressing will not create a gel without enough fluid, so this could end up drying out the wound site even further.

How to Use Alginate Wound Care Dressings

  1. First, clean the wound site with a saline solution and pat dry.
  2. Moisten the dressing slightly with saline before applying to make removal easier and less painful.
  3. Place the alginate dressing onto the entire wound.
  4. Use a secondary dressing to keep the dressing securely in place.
  5. Replace the alginate wound care dressing when there is visible drainage on the secondary dressing.
  6. Reduce the frequency of changes as the drainage decreases and stop using the alginate dressing when the wound bed becomes dry.

Foam Wound Care Dressings

Foam wound care dressings create the optimal warm, moist environment for wound healing. Since they do not adhere to the wound, they are a more comfortable option to turn to for wounds that have moderate to high fluid drainage. Made from semipermeable polyurethane, these dressings feature small, open cells that hold fluids and a waterproof backing to keep bacteria and other contaminants out.

Excellent for partial or full-thickness wounds, foam dressings are also beneficial for skin grafts, pressure ulcers, gastronomy tubes, and draining peristomal wounds, just to name a few. Since foam dressings have the capability to absorb large amounts of fluid, doctors often turn to this type of dressing for absorbency and patient comfort.

The AQUACEL Foam Pro Adhesive Sacral Dressing, the Cardinal Health Essentials Foam Dressing, and the Optifoam Silicone Foam Dressing are a few of the options we carry that are effective and highly reputable.

 

How to Use Foam Wound Care Dressings

  1. Clean the wound site with a saline solution and pat dry.
  2. Apply the foam dressing so that it extends at least 1 inch beyond the edges of the wound.
  3. If the foam dressing does not have an adhesive edge, apply a secondary dressing if necessary or a tape border to hold it securely in place.
  4. Because foam dressings are so absorbent, changing them every 2-4 days is recommended. If there is high drainage, changing the dressing more frequently may be needed.

Does Medicare Cover Wound Care Supplies and Services?

Wound care supplies can get expensive. Some people cannot afford all of the dressings, tape, and bandages they need to properly care for their wounds and turn to less expensive alternatives only to aggravate their wound and end up with further infection. If you qualify for Medicare, there are some important things to consider that will decide whether your wound care supplies are covered.

Choose Your Clinician Wisely

Do some research and make sure that you find out if the clinician you choose accepts Medicare. Medicare will not pay the claim if the clinician of choice is not enrolled. If the clinician is enrolled, Medicare will cover 80% of wound care supplies that are submitted and deemed medically necessary and documented as such by your clinician. You will be responsible for the remaining 20% of the costs related to these supplies.

What Supplies Are Covered?

Medically necessary surgical dressings for your treatment are covered by Medicare. However, each type of dressing has a different required copayment, which is your responsibility. Speak to your clinician about the different associated costs so you are not caught by surprise. Dressings are covered under Medicare Part B, therefore the standard deductible applies.

What About Home Care Services?

At-home care costs are cover under Medicare Part A as long as they are deemed medically necessary. Cleaning and prepping the wound site, applying dressings to a surgical wound site, and administering certain types of medicine are some of the at-home care services that can be covered.

We have just scraped the surface as to all the available wound care dressings on the market. Protecting your wounds, no matter what size or shape, is an important part of the wound healing process. Always consult with your doctor if your wound is getting worse or further irritated. They may suggest an alternate solution or treatment method for you to try.

If you have any questions about the wide variety of wound care products and supplies we carry, our Personally Delivered Product Experts are just a phone call away.

Caring for Peristomal Skin

Are you or someone you care for living with an ostomy and experiencing problems with the skin around the stoma? For those with an ostomy, peristomal skin damage is fairly common. However, it doesn’t have to become normal for you. First, you may want to identify the potential cause of the issue, which is an important part of figuring out how to treat your skin irritation. Next, consider taking several measures to avoid future damage to this sensitive area.

Causes Related to Peristomal Skin Damage

Incorrect Size or Shape of Skin Barrier

Getting the right skin barrier for your unique body may help reduce the risk of leakage and skin damage from stomal output. For example, skin folds or creases can make it difficult for the ostomy skin barrier to securely stick to the abdomen. An improper skin barrier fit can result in leakage, which may cause the skin to become irritated and begin breaking down. If your stoma is retracted or flush with your skin, you may want to consider a convex skin barrier.

ConvaTec’s SUR-FIT Natura Moldable Skin Barrier provides a personalized, custom fit around the stoma to help protect the peristomal skin. They are available in both flat and convex options.

In addition to skin folds and stoma protection, the size of the stoma is an important factor in getting the right fit for your ostomy skin barrier. Ensuring that the barrier is the proper size may help prevent leakage. 1-2mm larger than the stoma is suggested for a close fit. The ConvaTec Natura Durahesive Accordion Trim-to-Fit Skin Barrier with Convexity features an easy cut-to-fit option for those needing a skin barrier with convexity and for use for those with a retracted stoma.

Frequent Applications and Removals

Continuous application and removal of skin barriers can really irritate the peristomal skin causing it to become extra-sensitive. The top layers of the skin can be stripped away, which can result in weepy, sore skin around your stoma. In order to address issues like this, ConvaTec created the Sensi-Care line of peristomal skin care products. These products work to protect skin from damage caused by adhesives and are great for using every day with no residue build-up or bonding to skin folds.

Too Much Pressure Around the Stoma

When there is constant pressure at the stoma site, the skin may react unfavorably. Certain types of clothing or an ostomy belt that is too tight can irritate the peristomal skin by putting too much pressure on the site. Choosing the right ostomy appliance belt can provide an added sense of security when stabilizing an ostomy pouch. You want it to fit securely, of course, but make sure it is soft and comfortably adjusted as to not put too much pressure at the site.

Questions to Ask Yourself

Peristomal skin should look similar to the rest of the skin on the body. Slight redness in this area is normal due to the adhesive used on the barrier. However, any type of discomfort experienced could be a sign that the peristomal skin may be unhealthy. Asking yourself a few questions may help determine if there is more than meets the eye.

  1. Is the skin around your stoma itchy?
  2. Is the skin around your stoma blistered or inflamed?
  3. Does the skin around your stoma feel or appear as though it is wet?

Ask yourself these questions and then consult with your doctor or a WOCN (Wound, Ostomy, & Incontinence Nurse) about steps you can take to manage your peristomal skin issue.

Preventive Steps to Take

By maintaining a good skin care routine, you can help prevent peristomal skin irritations from forming. These are some simple steps you can take:

  • Routinely change your pouch.
  • Use an adhesive remover to gently remove your skin barrier and any additional adhesive residues left behind.
  • Use oil-free and alcohol-free products to reduce irritation when cleaning the skin around the stoma.
  • Make sure your skin is completely dry before applying the next ostomy bag.
  • Look closely at your peristomal skin each time you change out the barrier.
  • Use a barrier foam or spray to protect the skin.
  • Make sure the hole cut in the barrier is the correct size for your stoma.
  • Ensure the barrier is secure with no gaps or folds to prevent leakage.

Peristomal skin should be healthy skin. Even the mildest irritation should be taken seriously and is worth getting advice from your doctor. Most of the time, solving the skin issue can be as simple as changing to a different product, altering your routine, or taking additional steps to rectify the problem.

For any questions about the products we carry or if you need help choosing the right barrier, belt, or bag, we are just a phone call away. Our Personally Delivered Product Experts will be happy to help you find exactly what you need.

Behavioral Changes for a Better Bladder

We take great pride in offering the very best incontinence supplies on the market today. Our incontinence supplies are offered to help our customers live happier, healthier lives. A lot of happiness comes from a sense of comfort. Unfortunately, lack of bladder control can often cause a lack of confidence. Fortunately, there are behavioral changes that can be made that can provide some relief.

What Causes an Overactive Bladder?

When the muscles of the bladder begin to involuntarily contract, a sudden urge to urinate comes about, whether or not your bladder is full. Feeling the need to use the toilet more often than normal during the day or noticing that you need to urinate several times throughout the night suggests that you might be suffering from an overactive bladder.

So how does a person end up with an overactive bladder? There are some neurological conditions that affect the transmitted signals between the bladder muscle and the nerves such as Parkinson’s disease, a stroke, or Multiple Sclerosis. However, suffering from diabetes, a spinal cord injury, or a birth defect can also be conditions that can lead to an overactive bladder because of nerve damage.

How Diet Affects an Overactive Bladder

The first behavioral change a person can make to improve their overactive bladder is to make some minor dietary changes. Many people who suffer from an overactive bladder don’t realize that they are doing more harm than good by drinking their morning cup of coffee or enjoying a sugary treat for dessert. Different people have different bladder triggers, so it’s important for each person to listen to their body and discuss their symptoms with their doctor. A great habit to start is keeping a bladder diary. Track food and drink intake and notate how your body reacts to different foods.

The most common trigger foods and drinks include:

  • Alcohol
  • Coffee
  • Chocolate
  • Sodas
  • Citrus Juices
  • Spicy and Acidic Foods
  • Tomatoes

Pelvic Floor Exercise May Prevent Leaks

After diet, it’s important that a person with an overactive bladder regularly exercises. Exercise not only helps tone muscles and manage weight; it also improves bladder health. The more overweight a person is, the more likely they are to be impacted by leaks. While all exercise is helpful, the most important exercises for those who suffer with incontinence are those that strengthen the pelvic floor. Talking with a physical therapist can show a person what it takes to strengthen their pelvic floor so that they can retain urine in their bladder for longer periods of time.

Coughing, sneezing, and laughing can all cause leakage. Coughing fits caused by smoking are common, so while it’s important to quit smoking for a number of reasons, it’s certainly important to stop smoking for anyone who battles urinary incontinence.

Keeping a Bladder Journal Can Help

In reference to the bladder diary mentioned earlier, it can be used to help a person that is attempting to retrain their bladder. The first step of retraining the bladder is creating benchmarks.  If you urinate every hour, you have your benchmark. The first goal can be every hour and 10 minutes and it can continue to progress in increments. When the urge to go hits, a person can try different breathing techniques to relax until the urge passes and they can reach a restroom.  When a goal is achieved for more than one week, the timing goal can be extended. The more a person practices, the better their overactive bladder systems will be.

We’ve provided a sample Bladder Diary that you can download and save or print for your convenience.

Making a few changes and talking to your doctor can really help if you suffer from an overactive bladder.  If you have any questions about the incontinence supplies we offer, please give us a call and one of our Product Experts would be happy to guide you through our selections. We carry everything from liners and pads to briefs and underpads that range from light to heavy leakage protection. Whatever your needs are to manage your overactive bladder, we are sure to have the incontinence supplies you need!

Diet Tips After Ostomy Surgery

Are you nervous about what you can eat after having ostomy surgery? Are you wondering if there are certain foods you should avoid? Are there any dietary restrictions that you should follow? We have a few diet tips and suggestions for you here to help clear up any worries.

Diet Tips for the 3 Types of Stomas

A stoma is an opening on the abdomen that is attached to your urinary or digestive tract to allow waste to be redirected out of the body. There are 3 main types of stomas: colostomy, ileostomy, and urostomy. Here are a few suggestions about your diet after each type of ostomy surgery.

Colostomy Diet Tips

When part of the colon is affected by a disease or if it is not working properly, a colostomy may be performed. The large intestine is disconnected from the rectum and rerouted to the abdominal wall as a new opening, called a stoma. A colostomy pouch is then attached to the stoma and is used to collect output which is then disposed of. A colostomy can be temporary to give the colon rest after surgery or it can be permanent if the person suffers from a disease such as cancer.

After a colostomy, a person may be more likely to become constipated. It is important to drink plenty of fluids such as water throughout the day to avoid constipation. Eating slowly and thoroughly chewing food will help with digestion and exercising regularly may keep you on a regular schedule. With a colostomy, there aren’t any dietary restrictions, but you may be more sensitive to foods right after surgery. It is recommended to try new foods in small portions to see if they affect you. Keeping a food journal will help you find if anythng doesn’t agree with you. Maintaining a healthy diet is always a good habit.

Ileostomy Diet Tips

When an ileostomy is performed, the lowest part of the small intestine is disconnected from the large intestine and rerouted to the abdominal wall to form a stoma. This procedure can also be temporary when surgery was performed on part of the large intestine and this allows it to rest for a bit. An ileostomy may be permanent if the large intestine and rectum have been removed due to disease.

With an ileostomy, intake of more fluids that normal is very important. Normally, the stool thickens as it passes through the large intestine since this is where fiber is digested. In this case, the small intestine is doing all the work, so output will be less solid. It is also important to limit foods high in fiber to avoid blockage since the large intestine is missing from the digestive process. Chewing your food well and sticking to small frequent meals throughout the day can also help to regulate the function of your stoma and result in less frequent changes of your ileostomy pouch.

Urostomy Diet Tips

When a person has bladder cancer, a birth defect, or a serious spinal cord injury, a urostomy may be necessary due to the bladder either not functioning normally or having to be removed. The ureters are detached from the bladder and then reattached to a small piece of the bowel that has been removed. That piece of the bowel is then attached to the abdominal wall that redirects urine from the kidneys and into a bag.

As with the other 2 types of ostomy surgeries, it is important to get the necessary fluids to avoid the risk of a urinary tract or kidney infection. Continuously flushing the urinary system by taking in enough water, eating foods high in Vitamin-C, and drinking cranberry juice can help. Studies have shown that cranberry juice works to fight against bacterial growth and has been effective for preventing urinary tract infections.

As you can see, after ostomy surgery there really aren’t that many specific changes you’ll need to make. To sum it up, the main suggestions that are common for all types of stoma surgeries are:

  1. Intake plenty of fluids.
  2. Chew your food well.
  3. Eat smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day.

Keep an eye on certain foods and beverages that may produce changes to the output or health of your stoma and always consult your doctor about any concerns.

For any questions about the ostomy products we carry for these types of ostomy surgeries, please give us a call and one of our Product Experts will be happy to discuss the options we offer.

Top 5 Reasons to Shop With Personally Delivered

We take pride in the exceptional service we provide at Personally Delivered and strive to stand out from the rest. Of course, we know there are more than 5 reasons we would like you to order your home delivery medical supplies from us, but we will highlight what we feel are some of our most valuable ones.

1. Save on Your First Order

Saving a little bit of money on your first order is important when you are purchasing from a company you have not done business with in the past. We offer first time customers $5.00 off on your first purchase of $30 or more. All you need to do is enter Code: WELCOME05 at checkout and $5.00 will be taken off your total. It is as easy as that!

2. Free Shipping

Not only will you save $5.00 on your first order, if your total purchase price is $40 or more, you will also receive Free Shipping. Orders that fall below the $40 threshold are subject to a $10 shipping fee. So, you could potentially save $15 on your order!

3. Discreet Delivery

When you order your home delivery medical supplies, receiving your packages quickly and discreetly is important. When we ship your items, they will arrive in a plain brown box that does not disclose the contents inside. You can rest assure that your supplies will be securely packaged and delivered directly to your door on time.

4. Personal Consultations

Not all medical conditions are one-size-fits-all. Your needs are unique and our Product Experts understand. When you call our office, you will speak to a team member that listens to your every concern. They will help you narrow down all of the products we offer to customize and tailor your order especially for you.

5. Automatic Delivery Options

It can be difficult to remember when you need to reorder your home delivery medical supplies. We can take the hassle out of this and make your life easier with our Automatic Delivery Program. You choose the frequency you would like your supplies to arrive and we take care of the rest. With this program you will also save 5% on your home delivery medical supplies on every future shipment. You will never have to worry about running out of your supplies again!

As you can see, there are several reasons we would like for you to shop with us. We are a Satisfaction Guaranteed company and are sure that you will be happy with the services we provide. Taking the time to listen, helping you choose the right products, saving you time and money, and discreetly delivering right to your door, we are sure that you will be happy choosing Personally Delivered as your one-stop-shop for all of your home delivery medical supplies! Our Product Experts are just a phone call away.

Turmeric for Inflammation and Other Health Benefits

Have you been hearing a lot about turmeric these days and wondering what all the hype is about?  Have you wondered if turmeric really reduces inflammation? Is turmeric good for your overall health? We’ve done a bit of research for you and are sharing some useful information about this “magic” spice and how it may be beneficial for several different health conditions.

What is Turmeric?

Turmeric is a spice that comes from the turmeric plant’s roots and is the main spice in curry. For thousands of years, turmeric has been used in India as a spice as well as a medicinal herb. The main active ingredient in turmeric is a yellow-colored chemical called curcumin, which is a strong antioxidant and has powerful anti-inflammatory effects. It is believed that turmeric can reduce inflammation, swelling, and relieve pain when ingested. The use of turmeric for inflammation is a topic that is continuously being studied.

Using Turmeric for Inflammation

When a wound turns red and swells up, radiation causes an adverse reaction in the body, or if you suffer from Ulcerative Colitis or Crohn’s Disease, your immune system’s responds with inflammation. It has been studied for many years that taking turmeric consistently for extended periods of time has some effect on immune system responses. The curcumin in turmeric works to suppress molecules that play a part in inflammation and stimulate your body’s own antioxidant defenses.

There are so many various ways to use turmeric for inflammation. You can add it to meals you are preparing, apply it directly to your skin for pain relief, take it as a supplement, and even used as an enema for those suffering from inflammatory bowel disease.

Other Health Benefits of Turmeric

The benefits that you may see as a result of incorporating turmeric into your lifestyle can be noticeable. Because the main compound in turmeric is curcumin, there is scientific evidence that it may support your overall health in many different ways.

Type 2 Diabetes

The curcumin in turmeric can help keep blood sugar levels steady, which could be helpful in the prevention of type 2 diabetes. A study showed those with prediabetes were less likely to develop type 2 diabetes when they took curcumin for 9 months straight. The curcumin helped to improve the cells that make insulin in the pancreas and could possibly slow down the development of this health condition.

Arthritis

Arthritis is another common condition known to cause inflammation of the joints. Turmeric’s properties may be even more effective to treat the symptoms than other anti-inflammatory drugs that often have side effects. Applying turmeric for inflammation directly to the skin can help ease the pain associated with stiffness in joints.

High Cholesterol

Exercising and eating healthy foods can help keep your cholesterol levels where they need to be, but taking a supplement such as turmeric with curcumin might help to reduce your numbers. One study found that it can lower LDL cholesterol and possibly have heart-protective qualities.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Currently, turmeric is being studied as a possible treatment for those with medical conditions such as Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease. In previous research, it was found that turmeric helped to improve abdominal pain associated with irritable bowel syndrome as well as diarrhea. A turmeric enema has also been shown to be effective for some. However, as with any study, more research is needed.

Skin Care

Turmeric is widely used in India as an ingredient in skin care lotions and masks. Because of its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, some report that applying this formula to the skin can help fight acne and other skin conditions such as dryness and age spots.

Bladder Inflammation

When bacteria enters the bladder, it becomes irritated and inflamed, sometimes causing urge incontience. When a person experiences a urinary tract infection, it can cause pain and discomfort. Since Turmeric is an antioxident and anti-inflammatory agent, it can be used to help prevent bladder infections from happening in the first place.

How Much Turmeric Should You Take?

As with any supplement, including turmeric with curcumin, always consult your doctor about how you should be incorporating it into your diet and lifestyle. If you are taking certain medications, you will always want to be aware of the potential side effects that turmeric might have. Be cautious with combining turmeric with any medication and speak to your health care provider first.

Turmeric for Inflammation Recipes

We’ve put together some healthy recipes that use turmeric and may help fight inflammation. Turmeric is fat-soluble, so eating it with high-quality fat may help with its absorption in the body. Enjoy!

Turmeric Latte

Pineapple Bloat-Buster Smoothie

No-Bake Energy Bites w/ Turmeric

At Personally Delivered, we offer many products that can be used in conjunction with adding turmeric for inflammation to your lifestyle. Urinary incontinence due to the aforementioned bladder inflammation condition can cause the need to use pads, liners, or protective underwear. Give us a call and one of our Product Experts can speak to you about your symptoms and help you find the products you may need.

The Esteem+ Soft Convex by ConvaTec

Are you looking for an ostomy pouch that is less visible under your clothing? Do you have skin folds and creases that make your pouch difficult to place? Are you worried about leaking and odors with your ostomy pouching system? With ConvaTec’s newest addition to its line of one-piece convex ostomy pouching system line, the Esteem+ Soft Convex can make these concerns of the past.

The Esteem+ Soft Convex

The latest addition to ConvaTec’s range of one-piece ostomy solutions is the Esteem+ Soft Convex system. ConvaTec listened to the concerns of many ostomy pouching system users and addressed all of them with their newest design in the ConvaTec ostomy supply lineup. The one-piece system is often a preference because of its discreet lower profile under clothing. The pouch and wafer/flange are also unable to be separated, so the one-piece option provides a greater sense of security. Let’s discuss how the Esteem+ Soft Convex has become the ostomy pouching system of choice for many across the nation.

What Makes The Esteem+ Soft Convex so Different?

A More Manageable System

As we mentioned, the one-piece ostomy systems are a preferred choice because of their low-profile and added security features. Some other features that make the Esteem+ Soft Convex a preferred choice are:

  • A split-fabric, easy-view window for accurate placement and viewing of the stoma and output.
  • An integrated filter gives the user reassurance that there will not be any ballooning as it also helps to minimize odors.
  • The Safe Seal Clipless closure makes this pouching system easy to empty and clean.
  • Belt tabs are included for attaching an ostomy belt, if preferred, for added security.

A More Diverse System

The Esteem+ Soft Convex was made for those with many different ostomy and stoma types. No matter which of the following you have, this pouching system can be the solution:

  • Ileostomy – small intestine connected to the abdominal wall
  • Colostomy – colon connected to the abdominal wall
  • Flush Stoma – stoma is level with the skin
  • Retracted Stoma – stoma is sunken or dips below the skin level

A More Compatible System

If you have skin folds or creases, it can be difficult to precisely place a standard flat ostomy skin barrier and feel confident that there will not be any leakage of fluids or odors. With the Esteem+ Soft Convex pouching system, the convex skin barrier curves toward the skin to help improve the projection of the stoma for optimal drainage. Previous barriers and baseplates did not offer a cut-to-fit design that are both flexible and have shallow convexity. With three distinct plateau sizes below, this one-piece drainable ostomy pouch can fit with almost any body type for a more comfortable wear.

  1. V1 – 3/4 – 1-7/8″W (20-47mm) – Item# 422363
  2. V2 – 3/5 – 1-3/5″W (15-40mm) – Item# 422364
  3. V3 – (3/8 – 1-1/8″W (10-28mm) – Item# 422365

A More Protective System

Peristomal skin can become very irritated when an ostomy pouching system does not fit securely and conform to various body and stoma types. The flexibility and softness of the Esteem+ Soft Convex system makes it a more comfortable and secure choice, eliminating the costs associated with the use of stoma skin treatment and protective products. Because this pouching system is body-conforming, leaking is less likely, which reduces skin breakdown and makes it a more skin-friendly option.

At Personally Delivered, we proudly carry the Esteem+ Soft Convex as well as an extensive line of other ConvaTec ostomy supplies. If you have any questions about any of the ostomy products we carry, give us a call and one of our Product Experts would be happy to help.

Urinary Incontinence: Understanding Options That Don’t Require Surgery

Urinary Incontinence may be something that you don’t want to talk about with your friends and family, but it is a concern that should be brought up to your doctor. Being unable to hold urine can drastically affect your life, including your mental state, career, and social life. Some women experience Urinary Incontinence while pregnant or following delivery, and other men and women have trouble holding urine when laughing, sneezing or doing other daily activities. You may not want to exercise as much, or you try to hold all of your coughs in. Urinary Incontinence affects millions of people, and there are various treatment options available without resorting to surgery.

One treatment for Urinary Incontinence is doing strengthening Kegel exercises. The best part of Kegel exercises is that they can be performed from anywhere and are discrete, so it may be easier to add them to your routine. Kegels “involve squeezing and releasing the muscles that you use to stop urinating.” A professional that specializes in pelvic floor strengthening can work closely with you to strengthen areas that contribute to Urinary Incontinence. Besides Kegel exercises, you may also want to try teaching your bladder to gradually hold urine for longer amounts of time by sticking to a schedule.

Certain medical devices may also help with Urinary Incontinence. Electrical stimulation could strengthen associated body parts, as well as magnetic stimulation. Percutaneous tibial nerve stimulation (PTNS) involves a small needle sending electrical waves to the tibial nerve, which is involved with the ability of the bladder to hold urine. While electrical stimulation can be done at home with a device, magnetic stimulation and PTNS must be performed at a doctor’s office.

Medications can also help reduce Urinary Incontinence. For women, adding estrogen to the body may reduce leakage.  Based on scientific evidence, Pelvic Floor Muscle Training was the most successful option for treating Urinary Incontinence. It is very important to maintain the recommended amount of Kegel exercises each day and to keep up with it. This may be the most appealing option, too, because they can be done at any time, have no known side effects, and the exercises themselves do not affect the wallet. Being committed to alternative options for treating Urinary Incontinence may help to avoid surgical procedures.

If you have any questions about any of the incontinence products we carry that can also be beneficial, please contact us or give us a call today and one of our Product Experts can help you narrow down what your specific needs require.