In addition to the aesthetic consideration and the possibility of offending some people’s sensitivities, some of the main benefits that flow from wearing them are:
- Stoma covers perform some functions that used to be carried out by the nose and mouth, such as filtering airborne dirt, bacteria and other harmful particles.
- They help in retaining a little moisture from the lungs that would otherwise be dissipated.
- They hold a little warm air to mix with the incoming cold air.
The main reason given for not wearing a stoma cover was that it interfered with the intake of air. In fact, some resistance to breathing is beneficial to pulmonary (lung) function, which is why Heat/Moisture Exchange (HME) filters are recommended.
Apparently, not wearing a stoma cover can increase your susceptibility to respiratory ailments such as pneumonia; cause you to cough more; increase mucous production which in an extreme case could give rise to a life-threatening mucous plug; increase bleeding with the potential for infection; more crusting, with the potential of a blockage in the airflow; reduce pulmonary function with the lessened air resistance.
If you are one of the non-stoma cover wearers, here is a four-step plan to get you into the habit of wearing one.
- Begin with an open weave cover such as a lightweight, lint-free crocheted one
- Wear it when you’re not engaged in any physical activity, including talking.
- Gradually lengthen the time you wear it.
- When comfortable with that one, go for a tighter weave, or a foam one.
And yes Ladies – a stoma cover can look attractive!
Bow Porter (in California, USA) makes fashion stoma covers for the Laryngectomee, which are decorative only… some for men, too. The covers are shown on BowsGallery.com