By Kennedy Shelley
The public pressure to wash your hands like a doctor going into surgery has never been higher.
Regular hand washing is a powerful tool against the spread of nearly every infectious disease, but to people with some skin problems, it is near agony.
Thankfully there are some strategies to make this easier on those people who are suffering from chaffing.
DOES HAND WASHING REALLY WORK?
Is washing with soap and then making sure they are dry really important? Yes, yes it is.
This isn’t a thing your mom read in a magazine somewhere, this is real and has been known for a long time.
The importance of it was scientifically proven in Hungary in 1846.
Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis could not understand why the babies born in the charity hospital where he worked didn’t get a disease that was killing the rich children.
This was at a time when doctors were starting to really use the scientific method to solve diseases. He did a series of experiments and some observational detective work.
He soon figured out that in the rich hospital, the doctors were doing autopsies and then going to the delivery rooms but didn’t wash their hands.
And he hypothesized that they were spreading disease to the babies.
So, he did a controlled experiment and found that when you washed with chlorinated water, the death rate with the babies dropped.
Instead of being hailed as a hero who was saving babies, he lost his medical license because so many doctors were offended because of the implication that they were responsible for hurting their patients.
It took several decades for other scientists to show why his findings were correct.
In 2005 some UN doctors went to the poorest parts of Indonesia where diarrhea was the biggest killer.
It was impossible to change the water system there, but just giving out soap and teaching people the importance of handwashing ended the problem.
BUT WHAT IF IT HURTS?
If you have dry skin, eczema, or psoriasis hand washing can be extremely painful. Is there a way to make it easier?
Using soap with a built-in moisturizer can help.
Putting on hand cream, or oil-based moisturizers can reduce the chaffing.
Also making sure you dry your hands helps out in two ways.
First, wet hands transfer germs more easily, so you want them dry. But it also cuts down on chaffing too. Win/win.
There isn’t a one sized fits all skin conditions answer, but don’t put yourself and others at risk because your hands hurt, now is a good time to experiment and figure out what works best for you.
Put this on your list of things to talk to your doctor about.
There may be some medical ointments that he or she may know about or can prescribe.
Oil-based moisturizers coat the skin and lock moisture in, helping to keep your hands from feeling so dry because we lose a great deal of water through sweat, even if we are not dripping wet.
Keep washing your hands and find a solution and keep washing your hands even when there isn’t a pandemic happening.