Tips for Traveling with Incontinence

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Travel is slowly starting to pick up again since the Coronavirus pandemic started. Restaurants, shopping centers, and tourist attractions have started to welcome people in again. Many have been cooped up in their homes for months and have a strong desire to get out and visit friends and family, go on a well-deserved vacation, or appropriately celebrate the holidays. This often involves a certain amount of travel, whether it’s by car or plane. Besides the fear some of us have about the safety of flying with many other people in close proximity or traveling by car and having to use a public restroom, there’s another obstacle that some people have to deal with while traveling: incontinence. The thought of having an accident when in the car or flying can be stressful, but with a little preparation, your travel plans don’t have to be ruined.

Here are some tips to make traveling with incontinence manageable.

Map Out Restrooms

If you are traveling by plane, you can get access to the particular airport’s layout simply by searching on Google. Many layouts are printable to take along with you. When booking your flight, also think about choosing an aisle seat. Once you are on the plane, you’ll have better access to the restroom without disrupting any of the other passengers.

Should you be traveling by car, try to identify where the rest stops are along your route. Think about how you will be sedentary for long periods of time and the length of time you usually have between releasing the contents of your bladder. Starting a Bladder Journal a few weeks prior to your travels can come in handy.

You can use Google to map out your rest stops. Here is a quick video tutorial on how to do that.

Pack Enough Incontinence Supplies

Diapers, Protective Underwear, & Pads

You’ll want to pack a sufficient amount of incontinence supplies such as diapers, protective underwear, and pads when traveling with incontinence. Choosing a variety of incontinence products with different absorbencies can be a good idea to cover whatever kind of incontinence episodes you may run into. Underpads, bed pads, or chux, can also be beneficial in the car to protect the seat from an unexpected accident.

Disposable Bags

Packing enough disposable bags is important to keep embarrassing odors away when traveling with incontinence. The soiled incontinence products can easily be disregarded at one of the many rest stops on your car route or in one of the public restrooms at the airport if you are traveling by plane.

Hand Sanitizer

Maintaining cleanliness is an important part of good hygiene, especially during the Coronavirus pandemic. Hand sanitizer kills harmful germs that can cause viruses and is an easy item to get as a travel size. When traveling with incontinence, it is a good idea to keep hand sanitizer accessible at all times.

Personal Care Wipes

Personal care wipes are a versatile hygiene product to keep the whole family clean. They are an inexpensive way to stay clean and are conveniently packaged to take with you on-the-go.

Personal care wipes can be used in a variety of ways such as:

  • Wiping your face free of food, sweat, or makeup.
  • Cleaning dirt and grime from your hands.
  • As a substitution for toilet paper. Note: Only flush wipes that are marked as ‘flushable’
  • To disinfect a variety of surfaces such as doorknobs, steering wheels, toilet seats, and more.

Spare Clothes

Packing spare clothes that are easily accessible is a good idea just in case there is an incontinence accident or the airline loses your luggage. You’ll want to be able to either reach for these spare clothes in the car or have them in your carry-on bag on the plane. Having an unexpected incontinence episode and not being prepared can cause embarrassment. You never know what kind of an incontinence episode you might have, so preparing for an entire change of clothes from head-to-toe can be wise.

You’ll want to make sure you pack these extras:

  • Longsleeve or shortsleeeve shirt
  • Shorts or long pants
  • Socks
  • Underwear, boxers, or boxer briefs
  • Shoes

A Backpack or Duffle Bag

To stay organized and carry all of these essentials, you’ll want a large enough bag to accommodate everything. Keep in mind the size limitations if you are traveling by plane. If you are traveling by car, try to keep it somewhere easily accessible and not in the trunk. You may not be near one the rest stops on your route when you have an emergency.

Consider Catheterization

Before your travels, you might consider speaking to your doctor about the different types of catheters that are offered as an additional tool to help manage incontinence while traveling. Some catheters are inserted to empty the bladder and then immediately removed, while others can be left in for a few days or even weeks. Men are given another option that is convenient and non-invasive called a condom catheter. This type of catheter is worn externally to treat incontinence in men and can be worn for several hours between emptying the collection bag.

Talking with your doctor about considering catheterization as an option while traveling with incontinence should be done well in advance of your travels. It may take some time to learn how to properly use the recommended catheter in order to become familiar with the new routine.

Bonus Tip for Packing

Packing healthy snacks will help you avoid the sugary convenience store foods on the road or expensive airport snacking options. Not only are healthy snacks better for you, but they can also help prevent your bladder from getting aggravated.

Some of the healthy snacks you might pack are:

  • Baby carrots
  • Fruits like apples, bananas, oranges, and grapes
  • Protein bars (look for natural ingredients and low sugar)
  • String cheese
  • Mixed nuts (watch the salt!)
  • Dark chocolate
  • Tuna and crackers

Don't Let Traveling With Incontinence Ruin Your Plans

If travel with incontinence makes you unsettled, especially during the Coronavirus pandemic, planning ahead can make all the difference. With a little preparation and the proper incontinence products, you’ll be able to rest easy and enjoy your travels. Getting away and spending genuine time with family and friends will far outweigh the stress involved with managing incontinence.

For questions related to any of the home delivery incontinence supplies we offer, contact us or give us a call and one of our Personally Delivered Product Experts will be happy to speak to you. Incontinence can be manageable whether you are at home, work, or traveling and we can help!

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! The importance of hygiene 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

hand-washing hygiene in the kitchenWashing 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 an 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.

Here is a handy infographic about brushing your teeth: Brushing-Your-Teeth

Nail Hygiene

woman painting her nails for maintaining nail hygieneKeeping 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 an important part of personal hygiene, especially if you have diabetes since it increases the risk of foot sores and infections.

Food Hygiene

male and female chefs preparing food in the kitchen 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 that 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 accumulate 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, but you also 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

Item #325521 Aloe Vesta Bathing ClothsPersonal 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 microorganisms 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

Item #7134 Covidien Simplicity Basic UnderpadProtecting 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 bed pads 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.

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