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Tips for Summer Cast Care and Going Back to School

Doctor with patient in an arm cast giving thumbs up

While summer can be full of fun and playing outside, for children with casts, summer can make it difficult to keep casts dry and itch-free.

It’s summer time and the temperature is not the only thing that is rising! Unfortunately, fractures and other bone-related injuries rise during the summer as well. Some of the most common activities to cause such injuries during this time of year include: trampolines, bouncy houses, monkey bars and other playground equipment, contact sports, scooters, bikes, skateboard and hoverboards, just to name a few. And that’s not even counting regular trips and falls.

And while most children enjoy playing outside or going to the beach or pool, having to wear a cast can be a “summer bummer.” Here are a few tips to help you care for a cast if your child’s bones are healing this summer.

Keeping a Cast Dry

“Keeping the cast dry is the most important thing,” says Alyssa Kearney, a physician assistant at Shriners Children’s Philadelphia. “Getting the cast wet is the most common reason why a patient needs their cast replaced. Besides just the discomfort, it needs replaced because the skin can start to break down, so it’s crucial to get it changed,” she added.

Keeping water off a cast sounds simple, but it can be the most difficult part of caring for a cast any time of year, especially in the summer. Here are a couple of tips our fracture clinic team suggests for keeping your child’s cast dry.

Showering and Pools

“When showering, there are a lot of good ways to keep the cast dry,” says Kearney. “Even a simple plastic bag works great. Just keep the cast out of the direct stream of water.”

Other items that may be helpful while showering are cling wrap, cast guards and vet gloves. No matter what type of covering you choose, please understand that these are only protective measures intended to protect the cast from a small splash or mild spray. A cast should never be fully submerged in the water.

Kearney cautions patients from even going into the shallow end of pools. “Stay away from pools. Don’t even go into the shallow end, even if you just have an arm cast. So many times we see patients that just want to get their feet wet, but end up falling in.”

Sweat and Itching

Sweat underneath a cast can also be difficult to deal with. Preventing sweat build-up inside the cast while participating in outdoor events can save your child from a lot of itching. Our team has a method up their sleeves that they recommend to patients. “A really useful trick is to use the cool setting of a hair dryer and point it directly into the cast,” says Kearney. “That helps keep it dry and can help relieve itching.”

Our team also has some other tips to limit moisture build-up in a cast:

  • Use moisture-absorbing powders such as Gold Bond
  • Keep a dry towel around
  • Change out sweaty clothes as soon as possible
  • Stay hydrated

Whether your child has a wrist, arm, elbow or ankle injury, these tips can help keep their cast dry and itch-free while they enjoy their summer and start heading back to school.

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