A KidneyBuzz.com viewer wrote, "I am constantly suffering infections at my access site. My Nephrologist is growing more and more concerned since the infections are getting worse. What can I do to protect myself?"
While the Hemodialysis and Peritoneal Dialysis traditional accesses give Chronic Kidney Disease patients improved protection from infection when compared to the most dangerous access - Chest Catheter - patients who undergo Dialysis Treatment still have an increased risk of getting an infection. In fact, some studies have suggested that "infection is the leading cause of death" in patients conducting Dialysis. Hemodialysis and Peritoneal Dialysis patients should not be alarmed, but instead, use the following tips to limit their risks of contracting an infection.
Warm weather increases the incidence of serious infection. Due to the fact that Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients have weaker immune systems, if they are not careful, they can easily fall victim to dangerous infections that could threaten their Dialysis Access and even their lives. Remember these important tips year-round, and especially in mild weather:
1.) Always have hand sanitizer handy. Hand sanitizers were developed for use after washing hands or for those times when soap and water are not available. They are gels that contain alcohol in order to kill the germs present on the skin. The alcohol works immediately and effectively in order to kill bacteria and most viruses.
2.) Keep your exit site clean and dry. This will avoid harmful bacteria from collecting around your Dialysis Access. Also, change the dressings immediately if they become wet or soiled.
3.) Wash your exit site, or shower, after gardening or perspiring while outdoors. Try to wear gloves and avoid lifting things out of the dirt with your bare hands when working or having fun outdoors since you may accidentally brush your AV Fistula or Peritoneal Catheter causing possible infections.
4.) If you are conducting Peritoneal Dialysis then always close all windows, doors and turn off fans at least 10 minutes before beginning an exchange. Everyone with you must wear a mask or must leave the area where you are doing an exchange.
5.) For Hemodialysis patients, make sure that the scab on your Fistula Arm is completely removed before treatment and an alcohol swab has been used to wipe off your site. A small piece of a scab could have bacteria on it and cause an issue if it is not removed.
How do you avoid infections, especially during the warm months of the year? Weigh-in with your own pros and cons at the KidneyBuzz.com Facebook Fan Page which has over 63,000 friends. While you are there, like the KidneyBuzz.com Facebook Fan Page and visit KidneyBuzz.com regularly (160,000 monthly viewers) for the latest tailored breaking news and information which teaches those with Chronic Kidney Disease, Dialysis, Kidney Transplant, Diabetes, and High Blood Pressure how to better manage and improve their lives. You may become a regular visitor like, Charles Griffin who said, "Praise God for KidneyBuzz."