three rows of medical supplies a row or rubbing alcohol, peroxide, and bandages

Stocked and Loaded

Hidradenitis suppurativa is a challenging disease, but it can also be an expensive disease. Often those who have it purchase supplies by the bulk – especially when they find something, or things, they can’t live without. This is not a comprehensive list, but these are a few of my essentials that help me cope with dealing with lesions.

My hidradenitis suppurativa essentials

Alcohol wipes: These are individually wrapped so I can carry them with me and sanitize on the go.

Rubbing alcohol (usually 2 bottles stocked, 91% strength): Great for cleaning me AND cleaning surfaces.

Hydrogen peroxide (4 bottles stocked): I have had a lot of sessions where I have had to flush, and flush, and flush with peroxide. Now I know to always have more on hand.

Witch hazel wipes: I keep both the individually wrapped wipes and the non-wrapped wipes on hand. Witch hazel is sanitizing and calming, even though to me it smells like a hamburger (!), I still use it.

Vinegar: Some use diluted vinegar with water on a 1:1 ratio on their lesions; I also use it as a cleaning product by mixing ½ cup vinegar, ½ cup rubbing alcohol, and 2 cups water in a spray bottle for sanitary cleaning of surfaces.

Microfoam tape: I use this when I have larger areas to cover and I have to use tape. It’s strong but it’s comfortable.

Self-adherent bandage wrap: I keep this on hand, though it isn’t always practical for the areas where we experience HS the most. That’s okay. I’d rather have it handy than wish I had it, because it’s an opportunity to not use tape.

Nexcare Waterproof Bandages: These really are the best waterproof bandages. If you are going to a waterpark, or you are going to be sweating a lot from activity, get these situated first and then go for it.

3”x4” Adhesive Gauze Pads: Sometimes I give in and let one of these do all the work.

Non-stick Gauze Pads, large and medium: Non-stick is so much more comfortable. There have been so many times where I have tried bargaining with my body to let go of the gauze. By the way, that never works. The non-stick gauze is a much better option.

Sanitary pads: Another opportunity to not use tape. I have had many times where I have strategically placed pads inside my clothing to get me through whatever it is I’m doing, which is usually being out in public. I’ve snipped and trimmed, I’ve peeled and pressed, I’ve patted and preened. You can put sanitary pads in the underarms of your shirts. Those ultra-thin pads are ultra-helpful.

Nursing pads (reusable or disposable options): I’m lucky because I haven’t had lesions under my breasts for a few years now, but I know many people have. I suggest using nursing pads, either reusable pads that can be washed, or disposable pads. If you wear a bra, they can be held in place by that.

I know members of the HS community have their own list of helpful items they keep at the ready. What are some of the goods you use to get you through this disease?

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