How to find rashes or skin infections related to kidney dialysis

Written by chanel adams
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How to find rashes or skin infections related to kidney dialysis
Observe your skin for any signs of infections. (skin image by Robert Kelly from

Those who have kidney failure or disease may have to receive kidney dialysis. Two types of kidney dialysis include hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis. Hemodialysis uses a man-made dialyzer to clean the wastes and fluids from the blood. Peritoneal dialysis, on the other hand, consists of a catheter used to remove wastes and fluids from your body. Instead of having treatment at a hospital or clinic, you have treatment at home, usually at night. Common problems occur, such as skin reactions to either of these treatments. Patients should learn how to watch for these reactions.

Skill level:

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  1. 1

    Watch the area around your catheter if you have treatments for peritoneal dialysis. You may experience redness on the skin, which is a sign of infection. Press the area to verify if any pain exists in this area. Tell your doctor if you experience either of these symptoms.

  2. 2

    Note if your skin has been itchy since you had dialysis. Those who go on peritoneal or hemodialysis complain of dry, itchy skin. Some people have found relief after having their parathyroid glands removed, having phosphate binders or EPO shots. Antihistamines and capsaicin cream also help to soothe your skin.

  3. 3

    Observe your feet and hands. Abnormal swelling occurs with patients on dialysis. Keep your arms and feet above heart level, and talk to your doctor if you have chronic swelling.

  4. 4

    Look for any changes of colour in your skin. If your face, arms or any other body parts are purplish or red, you may have a hyperpigmentation reaction to the dialysis treatment. Early signs of this symptom lead to wrinkling on your forehead and other body parts.

  5. 5

    Observe your skin for malignant tumours. While taking a shower, spot any lumps or bumps you may feel with your hands. The frequency of such tumours increases with dialysis.

  6. 6

    Watch for sores to appear on your face and hands, especially when exposed to sunlight. These blisters or sores may appear even if you have not been in the sun too long. These blisters will then turn to scars once they heal. Use sunscreen when going out in the sun to prevent such blisters.

  7. 7

    Note if the appearance of your hands change when in low temperatures. Dialysis patients are susceptible Raynaud's Syndrome, which causes your hands to turn bluish red when in a cold area or climate.

Tips and warnings

  • Inform your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms. He or she will know how to treat these skin infections.

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