World Health Organization has stated that everyone should follow hand hygiene to reduce the chances of getting infected from germs and viruses.
Initiatives like “Clean care is safe care” are being undertaken by WHO to raise the standard of maintaining hand hygiene.
How Can We Best Look After Our Hands:
- After washing for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, pat rather than rub the hands dry to minimize mechanical damage to the skin
- Use a moisturizer regularly, after washing hands, whenever the skin feels dry and sore and at night.
- During the day opt for a lighter formulation.
- Keep a tube handy at work, and a bigger dispenser at home if wished, and avoid sharing with others.
- A greasier ointment may be best used at night, under a pair of clean cotton gloves
There are many moisturizers available to purchase from supermarkets and chemists but use a fragrance-free moisturizer as it is possible to have or develop an allergy to fragrances.
- Protect your hands when you can: Wear nitrile gloves for washing up, shampooing hair, household cleaning, handling irritant foods such as citrus fruits and potatoes etc. Use the dishwasher where you can.
Despite all the above,
- If the dermatitis is severe or oozing, treat with a steroid ointment or cream, sometimes with an added antibiotic to settle the inflammation. 1% hydrocortisone is a mild topical steroid, and may be sufficient in some cases. Any more potent (stronger) topical steroid option will require a prescription.
- Ointments are preferable, and greasier, and best applied at night.
- Topical steroids should be used intermittently rather than continually. A good rule of thumb is that 1 finger tip unit (a line of cream or ointment squeezed from the furthest crease to tip of an adult index finger) is enough to treat a handprint-sized area.
So hang on in there, keep washing your hands.