Taking care of your hands is an important part of maintaining your health, and if you are on a home care journey with your aging loved ones, it can take on even more importance. Your hands come into more contact with germs, dirt, and other potential contaminants than any other part of your body, making them the prime source for introducing potential infections into your body. For elderly adults this can be especially problematic in that their bodies tend to have lower immunity, making it more difficult for them to fight off the infections or to recover should such an infection arise.
One common ailment of the hands that can lead to an infection, illness, and other concerns is hangnails. These pesky problems are not just unsightly. They can also be painful and make the hands vulnerable to germs, especially if they tear off and create an open wound. Hangnails are a small portion of the cuticle that becomes disconnected from the rest and "hangs" off of the nail. Sometimes this is just a very small portion of thin skin that dries and falls off on its own. Other times, however, the hangnail can include a relatively large portion of the cuticle and pull away at the skin surrounding the actual nailbed, creating a painful point that can also catch on clothing or other objects and tear away, opening up the skin.
Getting a hangnail can be uncomfortable and potentially harmful for your parents, but it can also cause problems if you get one. Having a hangnail provides extra space for germs to reside. These germs, along with resulting infections, can spread to your parents while you give them care, putting them at direct risk of serious illness. Knowing how to prevent and take care of these issues can help you to keep yourself and your parents healthier and more comfortable throughout your home care journey.
Use these tips to prevent and manage hangnails for yourself and your aging loved ones:• Moisturize the cuticles. Dry cuticles are far more prone to hangnails, so make hydrating them a part of your regular care. Use cuticle oil or high quality hand cream and massage it into the cuticles until they feel soft.• Do not pick at cuticles. Some people have a nervous or bored habit of picking away at the skin of the cuticles. This can cause small sections of the skin to stick up, leading to a hangnail. If the cuticles are overgrown, push them back with an orange stick rather than attempting to remove them.• Keep them groomed. Well-groomed nails resist tearing, which protects the nail bed. Trim and file your nails and your parents' nails regularly to keep them secure.• Never chew. If you do develop a hangnail, never bite, chew, or tear at it in an attempt to remove it. This can cause a long, deep cut that is extremely painful and even more vulnerable to infection. Instead, use extremely sharp nail scissors to cut a highly moisturized hangnail close to the finger.
If you or an aging loved one are looking for home care services in Los Gatos, CA, please call Familiar Surroundings Home Care. Call today!
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