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Diabetes: A Skin-Care How-To

Diabetes can dry out your skin. That means you could get injured more easily, be more likely to get an infection, and take longer to heal. Follow these tips to care for your skin and keep it healthy.

Protect Yourself From the Elements

To shield your skin from the cold or wind, cover your ears and face, including your nose, and wear a hat. Also, wear warm gloves and shoes or boots.

Follow these guidelines, too:

  • Use lip balm to prevent chapped lips.
  • To prevent dry skin when the temperature drops, use a room humidifier to add moisture to heated indoor air.
  • When you bathe or shower, use warm (not hot) water, and a mild, moisturizing soap.
  • Don't take long baths or showers.
  • Pat skin dry -- don't rub it.
  • After washing and drying off, use a mild lotion to prevent dry skin.
  • Avoid scratching dry skin. Apply moisturizer instead.
  • Keep a bottle of lotion near the sink so you can use it after washing your hands.
  • Limit products you use on your skin to lower your chances of having a reaction.
  • If you're prone to acne, talk to your dermatologist before choosing a facial moisturizer. Some can cause acne or make it worse.
  • Use products labeled "noncomedogenic" or "nonacnegenic."

 

Make a First-Aid Kit for Your Skin

Keep a first-aid kit close by to take care of your hands and feet. It should include:

  • Antibacterial ointment
  • Gauze pads
  • Hypoallergenic or paper tape
  • Prepackaged cleansing wipes (in case soap and water aren't available)

How to Treat Blisters

  • Don't try to break or pop the blister. The skin that covers it protects it from infection.
  • Gently wash the area with mild soap and warm water.
  • Apply antibacterial ointment to the blister.
  • Cover it with a cloth bandage or gauze pad. Secure that with hypoallergenic or paper tape.
  • Change the bandage at least once a day.
  • If the blister is on your foot and came from your shoes, wear a different pair until it heals.

How to Care for Small Cuts

  • Gently wash the area with mild soap and warm water.
  • Apply antibacterial ointment.
  • Cover the cut with a cloth bandage or gauze pad. Secure that with hypoallergenic or paper tape.
  • Change the bandage at least once a day.

Is This Normal? Get the Facts Fast!

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Low
0-69
Normal
70-130
High
131+

Your level is currently

If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

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