Living with diabetes is a daily balancing act. If you have diabetes and get injured, you need to know how to protect yourself from further danger. Diabetes can lead to itchy dry skin. Compromised skin can crack easily, allowing germs and bacteria to get inside. Due to elevated glucose levels, infection can set in quickly and be devastating. Diabetes often comes with poor blood circulation. When blood circulates slowly, healing can take longer than usual and even lead to the need for amputation. Wounds and infection can throw off your blood sugar levels, leading to more dangerous health conditions. Take special care of wounds with diabetes by following these guidelines.
Preventing Wounds and Infections
- Keep skin, especially hands and feet, clean and undamaged. Extremities are most susceptible to infection due to reduced circulation.
- Wear proper foot and hand protection, depending on weather and activities.
- Use moisturizer regularly to keep skin from cracking.
- Monitor skin regularly for any injury or potential break in the skin.
- Use antibiotic ointment and bandages to cover any weak or broken skin.
- Take even the smallest cut/scrape/crack in the skin seriously.
- Clear any dirt or irritations from the wound with warm water and an antiseptic wash.
- Wipe down the injured area with sterile gauze or a clean cloth.
- Use an antibiotic ointment to prevent further infection.
- Cover the area with a non-stick gauze pad that will cushion and protect the area.
- Watch for welling and redness.
- Note any bad odor.
- Check for leakage or drainage.
- Feel for warmth in the injured area.
Other Tips to Keep in Mind
- Keep toenails neat and trimmed.
- Wear properly fitting shoes.
- Wear clean, soft, seamless cotton socks.
- Avoid going barefoot to avoid stepping on something sharp.
- Drink plenty of fluids to keep your skin hydrated.
- Wear cotton to allow your skin to breathe.
St. Petersburg General Hospital is here to help you manage your diabetes and avoid infection due to skin wounds. The Wound Care Center at St. Petersburg General is proven successful by a national study. The resources available to the medical staff are shared by other wound care centers, leading to the highest level of care. You can call (727) 341-4939 to make an appointment to learn more about caring for diabetes and preventing infection.