After your child has an injury that requires a cast, it is normal to have many questions about cast care and maintenance procedures that will ensure they have the best outcome for recovery. While you can expect the next several days or weeks to have a few difficult moments, you can ease your child’s recovery by knowing the answers to these commonly asked questions.
1. Can the Cast Get Wet?
It depends upon the type of cast your child has placed on their injury. A plaster cast should never get wet because it will become soft, but a fiberglass cast is unaffected by water. However, you should know that the padding inside a fiberglass cast may not dry quickly, which means that your child could experience skin odor and itching. If your child’s doctor used waterproof cast padding and liners, like that provided by AquaCast® Liner, then it is safe for the cast to get wet.
2. How Can We Control Itching?
Unfortunately, itching is a common issue that people experience while wearing a cast. Generally, it is not recommended to stick anything into the cast to scratch the itch because it could cause further injury, such as a rash, small cuts or potentially a deep laceration. If possible, use distraction methods such as getting busy with another activity to take your child’s mind off of the problem. Washing out the cast with soap and water can also alleviate some of the discomfort. If the itching sensation continues, we recommend contacting your doctor to discuss a solution that works for your child and the covered area.
3. Are There Waterproof Casts?
Many people prefer to have a waterproof cast that can allow their child to take a bath, shower, play sports and swim like normal. For these instances there are waterproof cast systems available. For example, waterproof cast padding can be applied under your fiberglass cast that will stop water from penetrating the padding materials used in the cast. For many patients, this also stops some of the discomfort that could occur if the cast accidentally got wet. Another alternative, may be to use a cast cover, but these can be hard to keep sealed if active, may have small leaks and may not be suitable to submerge in water. They are typically sufficient for taking a bath or showering, but you may have to keep your injury held outside of the water. And, because you still can’t rinse out the cast, they don’t account for perspiration, which creates odor over time.
4. How Does the Cast Come Off?
Cast removal can sometimes be scary for children who see and hear the loud buzz of the saw. However, a cast saw only uses vibrations that allow it to cut through hard materials, and the medical staff is careful to not cut through skin even if contact is made. Ask your child’s doctor to do a demonstration before the cast is removed if they appear to be scared. Under the skilled hand of a healthcare professional, there’s little to fear and the cast will come off very easily in no time.
After a bone is broken or fractured, a cast may be needed to keep the limb or body part stabilized. Fortunately, most children’s injuries heal quickly, and you can help encourage their healing by making sure you understand the basics of cast care and maintenance.
For more information or questions about cast care and maintenance or about our waterproof cast liners and padding materials, please contact us any time. We’re happy to provide you with all the recommendations we have acquired over the years working closely with physicians and hospitals.