Hygiene and Diabetes: What to Bear in Mind
You might be wondering, what’s the link between diabetes and personal hygiene? While the best way to manage your diabetes is by keeping control of your blood sugar levels, there are some other self-care measures to keep in mind when living with diabetes.
Here are some hints and tips to help:
Maintaining good personal hygiene is important for everyone but there are some aspects that people living with diabetes need to pay particular attention to. It’s important to consider hygiene when injecting insulin, using an insulin pump and caring for your body in general. We want to let you know exactly what to bear in mind when it comes to hygiene and diabetes.
Injecting insulin is part of the daily routine for many people with diabetes. However, when “favourite injection spots” develop and are overused, problems can arise.
Here are some tips about how to keep your sites healthy!
- Do not inject continuously into the same spot! Repeat injections into the same spot on the body can contribute to the development of lipohypertrophy. Lipohypertrophy refers to a lump under the surface of the skin caused by an accumulation of subcutaneous fat and/or scar tissue which can become thick or hard. Lipohypertrophy lumps can lead to absorption issues with your insulin due to an increase in connective tissue and can be prone to irritation and infection.
- Remember to “vent” or “prime” your insulin pens prior to use to remove any air bubbles
- Be sure to AVOID the following injection sites:
- Regular injection site checks are a wise move. Your diabetes team should check your injection sites at least twice a year. This is typically done at your regular check-up and won’t usually require an additional doctor visit. You can also do it yourself! Run your fingers along the area and feel for lumps and bumps under the skin’s surface.
Similar to injection needles, the trend for insulin pumps has gone towards shorter cannulas to infuse the insulin in the subcutaneous fatty tissue. But they should also be rotated and moved frequently. Some insulin pumps utilize tiny steel needles, while others use a flexible teflon cannula. Your pump manufacturer and care team can guide you specifically, but the typical rule is that pump sites should be changed between 2-3 days at the latest.
All information in this article is based on the following sources:
Foot Health Facts 2020, accessed 26th October 2020, http://www.foothealthfacts.org
Diabetes Forecast 2014, accessed 25th October 2020, http://www.diabetesforecast.org
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