Jessica Miles, an Abilitee Ambassador, wrote the following ostomy care tips for Patient Safety Week.
It's Patient Safety Week and I've teamed up with @abiliteeadaptivewear to bring you some safety tips ... ostomy edition. As a Registered Nurse and ostomy patient, I've learned a few things first hand!
1) Stay hydrated!!! If you can only drink small amounts ... drink often!!! Set an alarm to remind you to grab an 8oz glass of water! Always take a drink with you when you're on the go, and don't wait until you're actually thirsty to take a drink. Stay ahead of the dehydration!
2) Be sure to change your pouching system regularly to avoid leaks and skin irritation. Any itching or burning are signs that the skin needs to be cleaned and your barrier needs to be changed as soon as possible.
3) Use the correct size pouch and skin barrier. An opening cut too small can cut or injure your stoma ... however, an opening too large can allow output to get on the skin and compromise its integrity, causing irritation and breakdown.
4) Some popular tips out there for odor control are putting mouthwash, essential oils, etc. inside your ostomy pouch. I do not recommend doing this ... and I know some will disagree. Some items may cause irritation to your stoma while others can actually break down the plastic of your ostomy pouch. Many pouches have filters which do a great job at controlling odor, and there are many deodorizing drops out there made specifically for ostomy bags. You can also control odor with some dietary changes such as eating yogurt with live, active cultures and drinking cranberry juice!
5) My last safety tip for today is ... stoma protection! If you play contact sports or work around equipment that could impact your stomach area, you may want to invest in a stoma guard! Another option for stoma protection, for other various purposes, is a hernia support belt or undergarments.