Although casts can greatly enhance the healing process, their design generally does not allow for good air circulation. Because of this, sooner or later, most patients will experience skin irritation and itching. In order to help your patients heal as quickly and effectively as possible, it’s important to take steps to reduce or prevent the itchiness. Below are a few suggestions.
Advise the Patient to Keep the Limb Elevated
One culprit of itchy skin beneath a cast is swelling. Inform the patient that, should they experience itching, reducing the swelling can help alleviate the itch. Advise the patient to keep the recovering limb elevated above the heart as much as possible; ice the area several times a day; and, if acceptable, take over-the-counter painkillers such as ibuprofen. Moving the fingers and toes can also help improve circulation and reduce swelling.
Advise the Patient Not to Insert Items Into the Cast
Patients often underestimate how risky it is to insert a pointy object into the cast to scratch an itch. The smallest abrasion on the skin inside of a cast can easily lead to infections and other medical complications. Instead, advise the patient to turn a hairdryer onto the “cool” setting to provide much-needed airflow. If the patient has a waterproof cast, they can run cool or cold water through it to alleviate the itching.
Prescribe a Waterproof Cast Liner, Whenever Possible
Only certain types of fractures can be treated with a waterproof cast and liner, but if it is possible to prescribe one, a waterproof cast can greatly relieve the itchiness the patient would otherwise experience with traditional cast padding. Waterproof cast liner material is breathable and water-resistant, so patients are able to wash away the dead, flaky skin cells that cause irritation. Waterproof casts also make it easier for patients to keep the infected area clean and odor-free during their recovery.
Learn More About AquaCast
AquaCast® is the top choice for healthcare professionals across the globe. It is our goal to produce the highest quality waterproof casts in the healthcare market. To order waterproof cast liner products for your patients, click here.