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Protecting Your Skin While Staying With Family and Friends

The holiday season is upon us, bringing with it some of the busiest travel days of the year as people embark on pilgrimages to spend quality time with family and friends.  For those of us who use wheelchairs staying with families and friends may mean dealing with less than idyllic bathroom access—and in some cases, situations that could be very dangerous to your skin, which is something I was reminded of on a recent visit to my parents. Here is a look at some potential skin dangers and how to protect against them.

Guest blog post by Bob Vogel

*Toilet seats with sharp or hard edges.

A mirror skin check during a previous visit to my folks’ house revealed a round line of red skin around my ischiums (butt bones)—this was right after my pre-bedtime bathroom routine.  A mirror check in the morning showed it was gone and I didn’t give it much thought–until the same thing happened the next evening. This time a mirror check revealed the red line had returned–wider, warm to the touch and was still there the next morning. I looked at the toilet seat and saw that the inside edge was sharp—something that wouldn’t effect a person with standard muscle tone.  I was more than a little worried and also embarrassed.  Fortunately, I was headed home that afternoon. I kept close tabs on the redness, which subsided in about 5 days.  But if I had used the seat one more time, especially if I wasn’t doing mirror checks to see what was happening to my skin, I could have ended up with severe skin breakdown!

To protect myself from toilet seats with abrupt or sharp edges, I now travel with a ROHO Toilet Seat Cushion in my suitcase. I had a chance to try the ROHO Toilet Seat Cushion on the same seat during a recent 7-day visit with my folks. It took less than a few minutes to inflate the cushion(s) and snap the two straps on each side.  Mirror checks confirmed it worked great. No redness!


*Sliding Shower Doors.

Trying to transfer over the lip of a tub that has tracks for sliding shower doors is akin to passing over samurai swords–one slip could result in serious skin damage and turn a holiday visit into a hospital stay. The best way to protect your skin is by putting a bath mat over the tracks.  If a bath mat isn’t available, a towel will do; however, use caution as a towel can slide off the tracks the way during a transfer. Don’t leave anything to chance–put down a bath mat, cover it with a towel and a ROHO ADAPTOR PAD – a combination that enables an easier, safer transfer.

An option when visiting a home with a shower only, and no bath bench, is to put a towel on the floor, set an ADAPTOR PAD on the towel and do a chair-to-floor (towel/ADAPTOR PAD) transfer. The same bathmat and/or towel routine for bathtub lips, works to cover a “knife-like” lip that many shower doors swing into when they close.