We’re in the middle of summertime now, and the temperatures are skyrocketing. Unfortunately, injuries are all too common at this time of year. If you or someone you know suffers from a broken bone this summer, you may be wondering how you should care for your cast? Don’t panic, we’ve got a few tips on how you can care for your cast and still enjoy summer break!
The importance of a dry cast
You’ve probably heard this before if you know someone who has had a cast in the past. Always keep your cast dry. Moisture in a cast can lead to irritation, mildew, and sometimes infection. Therefore, It’s important to take precautions when swimming, showering, or even washing the dishes.
If you know that water is going to be an unavoidable obstacle while you’re healing, there are a few options available to help keep your cast water-free:
Cast Cover – A reusable and high-quality waterproof cover made to provide water-tight protection to casts, bandages, or various types of wounds. These are very cost-effective and are strongly recommended for keeping water away from a cast. These can be easily obtainable at stores like Walgreens, Walmart, and CVS.
Plastic Bag – If you’re in a pinch and don’t have a cast cover available, covering it with a plastic bag can do the trick. Place your arm or leg in the bag and seal it with medical or duct tape. Depending on the injury, the size of the bag may differ. If you have a leg injury, a plastic garbage bag should work. Remember that you need to check the bag for any holes, and do not try to submerge it in water.
Cling Wrap – Another quick option is plastic wrap. You will need to wrap the cast tightly and make sure there is a good seal around the top of the cast. Do not try to submerge in water as the seal will not be as tight as a cast cover.
Please keep in mind that these are only made to protect from a small amount of water. You should never fully submerge a cast in water as the risk of a leak is too great. If you’re planning on going to the pool or lake, keeping to the shallows with the cast above water is your best option.
Keeping it clean and odor-free
One of the easiest ways to avoid getting your cast dirty is using a cast cover while eating or cooking. It’s common to have food splatter while cooking and this can leave sticky residue on your cast or even cause it to smell. If you find that you have a stain on your cast, you can use a damp (not wet) cloth to gently wipe it off. Keep the cast completely uncovered until it’s completely dry. You can use a blow-dryer on a cool setting to help dry the cast.
If you’re going to be participating in summer activities that will cause you to sweat, prepare a few things beforehand.
Gold Bond – Ask your doctor if using a moisture-absorbing powder, such as Gold Bond, would be beneficial.
Something to dry off with – Prepare a dry towel in advance to wipe off sweat that could get into the cast as well as an extra change of clothes. A hair dryer on a cool setting or an air compressor can also be used to help keep it dry.
Skip the toiletries – It’s important to take extra care to avoid getting body lotions, deodorants, or sprays inside of it. These products can provide a breeding ground for bacteria, which can lead to skin infections.
Contact your doctor if you have any complications such as:
- A fever higher than 100 F for a child and 101 F for an adult
- Numbness, burning, stinging, or tingling in the injured arm or leg.
- Pain and swelling that gets worse
- Cold, pale, or blue-colored skin
- The cast gets wet, damaged, or breaks
- You notice mold, mildew, or an odor
Caring for your cast is essential to your recovery. Use these tips and follow the instructions given to you by your doctor. We hope this helps you enjoy your summer and remember that your cast is not permanent.