- Corona Virus (COVID-19) Ostomy Information
Corona Virus (COVID-19)
Ostomy Supplies during COVID-19
FAQS + Helpful tips
One of the most common concerns we’ve seen among those with ostomies during the Corona Virus pandemic is relating to supplies. People are wondering if, like toilet paper and other daily essentials, if there may be a shortage in supply for ostomy appliances, or delays in their delivery. Based on everything that we've heard from the major distributors of ostomy appliances and the manufacturers there should be no reason to expect delays in delivery or shortages of product. With this in mind, we also think that it is still best to be informed and the prepared.
In addition to the assurance emails we've recied from most of the major manufacturers, our friend over at VeganOstomy has put together a resource that has all of the statements and latest updates from major manufacturers. Check out his website here for those Details
Here is a list of some of the main Distributors and their current status. If your supplier is not on this list, we recommend you check their website for updates regularly
Edgepark is open and processing orders regularly at this time. However, Edgepark is unable to cut custom ostomy wagers prior to shipping at this time.Link
Currently, there is no interruption to service. If necessary, we will communicate to customers any delays due to Byram facility closures or manufacturer facility closures. We are maintaining inventory supply at normal levels and are not expecting shortages.Link
To date, our offices remain open to continue to serve the patients who depend upon us, and we will continue to update you as we learn more in the days to come.Link
Nothing has been provided online for some companies. we have sent an email to each of them requesting information and will post a response:
It is always wise to have a good sense of how long your current supplies will last you, especially now with the uncertainty of the Corona Virus. To start, we recommend that you ask yourself these questions:
How long do you usually get with each appliance?
How many changes to you have?
Do you have extra appliances in places you may have forgotten about (Cars, travel bags, etc.)?
Do you have at least a months worth of supplies on-hand?
When are you able to order your supplies next? Has that date already passed?
If you have less than a months worth of ostomy supplies on-hand, it may be wise to place an order for more now, as it is recommended to always have 1-2 months worth of supplies available. Please keep in mind that if you do have 1-2 months on-hand already available, that you shouldn't need to re-order. In the unlikely circumstance that there is a temporary shortage of supplies, we want to be considerate of those who truly need supplies due to a personal shortage.
Extending the wear time of each appliance
Extending the weartime of your ostomy appliance is a helpful practice, regardless of the situation. Extending the life-span of each pouch could help mitigate potential risks of running low during a critical time, but it can also help save you money, since we all know that pouching systems can be expensive (especially before you hit a deductible)! Here are some of the best ways we know to extend the wear time of each appliance
Using a Stealth Belt has been shown to increase the wear time of each appliance. Two of the most common reasons that a leak might occur are when the weight from the output tugs on the adhesive as the appliance fills and the shifting of the appliance when it is wet from sweat or water. Stealth Belt addresses both of these issues directly, by supporting the weight of the bag as it fills and applying gentle pressure to the flange and adhesive to make sure it stays in place - even while wet. Watch this video to see a demonstration of how it works. In an effort to help keep costs down during this time, we are providing 20% off Stealth Belt orders with checkout code "20Save20".
This is one that some of our customers told us about, where you keep a water bottle in the bathroom with your ostomy supplies to rinse out the pouch after emptying it. This of course, works best with drainable pouches and applies more for ileostomy and colostomys. But the idea is simple: the output from your intestines is acidic, meant to break things down for digestion. The longer it stays inside of the bag, the more time it has to slowly break down the material. Over the course of days, this can cause the “smell life” of the bag to be reduced, or even cause breakdown in the adhesive around the stoma. Rinsing the appliance out even occasionally can help ‘reset’ the appliance and slow that breakdown process.
This is a particular favorite of mine, I even wrote a blog about it a while back, which you can read here
There are a huge number of reasons that having good posture can help you if you have an ostomy which I cover in that blog, but this is how it helps specifically with extending the wear time of your appliance: Think about where the appliance is located on your body - usually on your lower abdomen. That portion of the abdomen is the part that often ‘crunches’ together when you bend over, do a crunch, or slump down into your favorite couch position. The problem is, when we put our ostomy appliances on, we are normally standing (or in some cases lying) with the abdomen fully extended or flat. I like to draw the analogy to putting on a bandaid on a joint, like your elbow or knuckle of a finger. When you bend those joints, the adhesive from the bandaid has to stretch and compress to stay connected throughout the movement, causing them to fall off frequently. Thankfully, the ostomy appliances have more flexible and powerful adhesives that allow for more flexibility, but the same premise still applies. From my own experience, and from what I’ve heard speaking to many others with ostomies, if you are able to sit and stand with better posture, you will see a big reduction in the number of leaks and an increase in wear time for each appliance.
Proactively drying the appliance after it gets wet is also helpful for increasing the weartime of the appliance. We find that having a second, dry Stealth Belt to switch into directly after going into the water or sweating from exercise is the best option for this. The fabric in the Stealth Belt is made to wic moisture away, helping pull water from the adhesive and dry it out. The added pressure also helps keep the appliance in place as described in the first tip. The ostomy adhesive is meant to be able to get wet and re-adhere as it drys out - having a dry Stealth Belt can expedite this process and help the appliance last longer.
who is at risk & suggestions for staying safe during COVID-19
Given what we know about the virus, it is highly contagious. Having an ostomy doesn’t necessarily make you more or less likely to contract the virus, but if you have a compromised immune system, are on immunosuppressants, or fall into one of the ‘at-risk’ categories outlined by the CDC you reaction to the virus has a higher likelihood of being more severe. Read more on the CDC’s resource page for 'higher-risk' individuals
Learning about the best ways to avoid contracting the virus and following through on those suggestions is a great way to manage unnecessary stress during what might be a stressful time. Additionally, it is recommended to continue with regular exercise routines from home. Exercise is proven to be one of the best ways to lower stress. Some great at-home workouts include:
stationary bike or treadmill - if available
Here is a link to our blog with information about exercising with an ostomy
We also recommend the Stealth Belt Pro as the best all-around option for working out. Order now and save 20% on your next order!
what should i do if i get sick ?
Here we must again refer to the guidelines of the CDC. The first thing they recommend is to call them for medical advice. This is always a wise decision.
If you are sick, but are told that you are not in need of acute hospitalization care and will be staying home in quarantine, there are a couple things we think you should consider as someone with an ostomy:*[For general tips regarding what to do while sick, we defer to the CDC’s guidelines]*
One primary symptom of COVID-19 is coughing. If you have an ostomy, especially if its an ostomy that was formed in the last 6 months, coughing can be a risk for herniation. To help prevent herniation due to excessive coughing, we would recommend you wear your Stealth Belt tighter than usual, so as to apply enough pressure to get additional hernia support. If you feel a cough coming, it may also be wise to apply pressure with your hand to the lower abdomen area as well.
If you have a hernia already and are worried about it getting worse - you should definitely be wearing a hernia support belt at all times while coughing remains one of your symptoms.
On the CDC’s general guidelines for how to care for yourself at home, is to get rest and stay hydrated. This is obviously good advice for any case of being sick, but when it comes to having an ostomy the focus on staying hydrated is especially important. I wrote a blog a while back about the importance of hydration for those who have ostomies, and gave some recommendations. You can read that here The general idea is that we have a harder time than normal people staying hydrated, so when we’re sick and at risk for dehydration we should be even more diligent about the type and amount of liquids we consume!