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  • protect your nails during chemo
  • stop damage to your palms and soles
  • reduce nail loss

The Ice Age is Over

By Jennifer Young

Chemotherapy attacks cells within your body as well as your tumour cells. As a result, side-effects like nail loss and hair loss result. There are things that you can do to prevent the loss but not many people are talking about them. We love talking and, true, to form, here is everything you need to know about cooling gloves an slippers. Simple to use and easy to obtain, they cool the nail beds before, during and after chemo, reducing nail damage.

Nail Damage During Chemo

Did you know that chemo can damage nails? Sometimes, finger and toenails can become fragile, ribbed or even fall off as a side-effect of treatment. Further information about the chemo drugs that can damage nails in ovarian cancer, womb cancer, breast cancer and cervical cancer patients can be found in our other chemo nail damage blogs.

We all want beautiful nails and to keep our hands and feet in good condition, we want to continue being able to use them and look good during chemotherapy, and after, just the same as before chemotherapy.  

What can you do about it?

Research shows that cooling the nail beds during treatment can reduce damage to the nails and many oncology teams used to soak hands and feet in buckets of ice during chemo in an attempt to save nails. Luckily, the ice age is now over and there is an alternative.

Elastogel Hypothermia Cold Gloves and Slippers are designed to help prevent damage to skin and nails on the hands and feet.  If nail damage occurs the hands and feet are more prone to infection and nail damage, once established it can be painful as well as long-term.

The Gloves and Slippers are easy to apply and are worn during the chemotherapy. They should be worn 15 minutes before chemo starts, during chemo and for 15 minutes after chemo has ended. The number of pairs of Gloves and Slippers needed will depend on how long the chemo session (infusion) lasts.  The slippers and gloves need to be changed every 45 minutes to remain cold enough to work. Before use they should to be frozen to between -25 degrees and -30 degrees. Despite being frozen the gloves and slippers always remain soft and flexible.

Where can I get cooling Gloves?

Many Hospitals within the UK now use Hypothermia Gloves and Slippers routinely; others recommend them to patients giving them the option of purchasing them for use during Chemotherapy.

Some hospitals have a small supply of the gloves and slippers, but don’t have enough for everyone at every session. Some patients buy their own and take them to the hospital in a good quality freezer bag.Other hospitals know that nails can be saved by cooling but choose not to offer gloves and slippers to patients.

If you would like to know more about the gloves and slippers and how they might work for you during your treatment ask questions. Your medical team know all about the nail, hands and feet related side effects associated with your treatment. They will also know if the Gloves and Slippers and are suitable for you.

Some patients are concerned about hygiene when using gloves and slippers provided by the hospital. Hygienic liners should be used, but if you'd prefer to provide your own, just ask. 

Do they work?

Studies showing the effectiveness of cooling during chemo were carried out on patients that were having Docetaxel (TAXOTERE) Chemotherapy. Since these studies oncology units have gone on to trial the Gloves and Slippers on different Chemotherapy regimes with success.

Elastogel Hypothermia Gloves and Slippers are now used routinely in Europe the US and the rest of the world.

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