If you've been given a tracheostomy, be careful how you treat it. You now have a surgical incision in your windpipe, which will require special handling. Your tracheostomy will make it easier for you to breathe. Here are five crucial steps you need to take to avoid problems with your new tracheostomy.
1. Practice Good Hygiene
When it comes to protecting your tracheostomy, you need to practice good hygiene. Germs and bacteria can get transferred from your hands directly into your tracheostomy through the stoma in your windpipe. To avoid that, it's important that you wash your hands thoroughly before you handle any part of your tracheostomy. It's also important that you follow proper cleaning procedures for the tracheostomy, itself.
2. Watch the Clothing You Wear
Now that you have a tracheostomy, you'll need to watch the clothing you wear, especially the clothing you wear on the upper portion of your body. Avoid wearing clothing that's tight around your neck. The tightness could constrict your tracheostomy and block your airway. It's also important that you avoid wearing any type of clothing that has loose fibers, such as knitted items. The fibers could dislodge and get into your tracheostomy.
3. Keep the Air Moist
During the winter months, the heater in your home can dry out the air. Unfortunately, dry air interferes with your tracheostomy and makes it uncomfortable for you to breathe. To make sure you don't run into problems this winter, be sure to run a humidifier in your home at all times – especially when you have the heater on.
4. Take Care When You Eat
Now that you have your tracheostomy, it's important that you take care when you eat. Never eat in a reclined position, because you could choke. Also, take care when eating foods that crumble easily. Those crumbs could get inside your tracheostomy. If you do get food inside your tracheostomy, you'll need to remove the food and clean your tracheostomy right away.
5. Watch for Signs of Emergencies
It might take you a while to get used to your tracheostomy. While your tracheostomy is healing, you'll need to watch for signs of infection. Those signs include redness, swelling, red streaks radiating from the stoma, or pus draining from the stoma. If you notice any of those warning signs, you need to contact your doctor right away. It's important to note that if you have difficulty breathing or uncontrollable coughing, you should call 911 immediately.
For more information or tips, contact your local tracheostomy services today.