It is important to properly clean up after an episode of urinary incontinence. We suggest some ways to get it right.
Urinary incontinence is embarrassing – and messy! It often necessitates cleaning of the skin, apart from frequently changing one’s underwear and clothes. For caregivers, especially, episodes of incontinence are succeeded by cleaning up the person. This is an unpleasant task, but an essential one.
Not changing the soiled clothes on time and not cleaning the skin in contact with urine can cause rashes and infections. Even adult diapers and pads must be removed and replaced with fresh ones after a leakage has occurred. There are ways to clean up the person properly after an episode, such as:
* Remove the soiled clothes and diapers at once. When the person indicates that he or she has suffered a leakage, take them away to a private space and help them remove their clothes. Take away the soiled diaper or pad and dispose it off safely inside a plastic or paper wrapper. Put the soiled clothes in the washing machine. If possible, stock up on disposable underwear that can be trashed after use.
* Clean the person. Use a mild soap and warm water to clean the person. Use a special soap meant for the skin, and be sure to cover all areas where the urine has come in contact with skin. Leaving urine behind on the skin causes infections and rashes. Also, it tends to leave a strong odour on the clothes. Once the person is properly cleaned, dry the skin thoroughly with a clean towel. Help the person wear fresh clothes and diaper.
* If you notice a rash. Some people who suffer from urinary incontinence may develop rashes. These will appear like a patch of red skin or reddish spots in a certain area. Apply a mild moisturising or antiseptic cream to the skin, or if the irritation still persists, examine if the person is allergic to certain fabrics or soaps. Have a doctor examine the area if the rash does not subside over time, or if it increases in size.
* Keep yourself clean. Wear gloves every time you clean the person, and use towels or napkins to clean them. Sterilise the gloves every day before use to prevent spread of infection. Once you are done, clean your hands with a sanitising soap.
* Clean the furniture or beds. If the person has had an accident on the furniture, bed or on the carpet, you will have to strip these and clean them thoroughly. Urine leaves an odour behind, so the cleaning must be deep. Wash the carpet with a special shampoo and blot it dry with a clean cloth. Strip the bed and put the bed sheet in the washing machine, using an anti-bacterial detergent to complete the job. Stock up on fabric shampoos to be used at a moment’s notice.