People with diabetes are more prone to developing skin problems and infections and need to take extra care of their skin. It is important to have clean hands, especially before eating, taking medications or insulin and glucose testing. Consider whether people with diabetes should use antibacterial wipes, sanitizers and/or hygiene towelettes to get clean.
- People with diabetes are more likely to develop skin disorders, illnesses and infections due to a weakened immune system. It is estimated 1/3 of people with diabetes will get some type of skin condition that is caused or affected by the disease. People with high blood glucose levels often have extremely dry skin. Keep your blood sugar in check to ward off dry skin and other health complications.
- Testing your blood glucose levels is an essential part of managing diabetes. Your hands should be clean before activities such as testing your blood glucose and eating. But are antibacterial wipes and sanitizers the answer to having clean hands? The American Medical Association discourages the use of these products as they could lead to the development of antibiotic resistant bacteria, commonly referred to as “superbugs”.
- Using antibacterial products before blood sugar testing can also cause inaccurate blood glucose readings. Scented antibacterial products are usually the culprits when it comes to incorrect blood sugar readings. Instead of using hand sanitizers or antibacterial wipes, wash hands with plain, mild soap and water. There is no need to use antibacterial hand soap either. Make sure your hands are completely dry before testing your blood glucose levels. Use a lint free towel for best results. Plain alcohol wipes are not necessary for blood glucose testing; they can lead to dryness and irritation, as well as cause inaccurate blood glucose readings. Since you may be washing your hands more frequently, try to keep them well moisturized with a simple white lotion with no added fragrances or perfumes. A great skin protector is called Aquaphor.
- People who use pen needles, single-syringes or injectables like Victoza do not need to wipe with an alcohol based product prior to the injection. Studies indicate there is no increased risk of infection when alcohol wipes, antibacterial wipes or hygiene towelettes are not used. This means there is no need to wipe the area before testing. Remember, some people will inject directly through their clothing and never use a product to clean the area. Alcohol wipes and swabs should only be used in an emergency, if the test site is dirty and soap and water are not available.
- Hygiene wipes are often used in hospitals and clinical settings when a patient might be unable to take a shower. These wipes should only to be used when you are unable to bathe. Stay away from feminine hygiene sprays that can cause skin irritation. It is best to take a lukewarm shower to get clean. If you have trouble standing, use a bathtub seat with rubber feet to avoid slippage. Cleanse yourself with a mild soap and shampoo, rinse completely and dry off with a soft towel.
- If you have a persistent skin problem or infection, contact your doctor immediately. Skin issues for people with diabetes can become serious when they are neglected.
While wipes might be helpful in a pinch they may also cause skin dryness and irritation. Mild soap, warm water and a soft towel are the safest and most effective ways to get clean. Remember to use a moisturizer regularly and consult with your doctor about persistent skin problems.