98 chapter 5: Taking care of your body
Women with leprosy (Hansen´s disease) must take special care to protect their
feet from injury and infection. Because leprosy causes a loss of feeling in legs and
feet, women who have leprosy are less likely to feel pain, itching, or other signs of a
problem when it is still small and easy to treat.
Women with leprosy often have a hard time holding things. To make it easier
to hold onto things and prevent injuries, use or make tools with wide, smooth
handles, or wrap thick cloth around the handles.
To make a handle:
You can mold a handle to the shape of the
person’s closed hand.
Use epoxy putty, or plaster of paris mixed with
a strong glue. Have the person grip the handle
while it is still soft. Then let it harden.
You can also make a handle with clay, or wrap
several layers of thick leaves, such as banana
leaves, or corn husks around the handle.
Sometimes dentists refuse to
care for people with cerebral
palsy. But it is very important
that all people get good care
for their teeth.
Care of the mouth and teeth
Women who have a hard time controlling or moving
the muscles in their mouth and tongue, or their hands
and arms, such as women with cerebral palsy, may find
it difficult to clean their teeth and gums. But if teeth are
not cleaned regularly, any food that sticks to them or
the gums can cause decay. If necessary, ask someone you
trust to help you.
Women with epilepsy (seizures, “fits”)
If you use the medicine phenytoin (diphenylhydantoin,
Dilantin) to prevent seizures, it can cause your gums to
swell and grow large. Taking good care of your mouth can
prevent much of the swelling.
Try to clean your teeth carefully after each meal and
rinse your mouth with clean water. Take special care to
clean between your teeth. It also helps to massage your
gums with a clean finger.
Medicine for epilepsy can
make gums swollen and
sore, almost covering
the teeth. Keeping your
teeth clean can help
A Health Handbook for Women with Disabilities 2007