Good handwashing practices are vital to protecting your health and stopping the spread of COVID-19. But it’s also important to take good care of your hands due to more frequent handwashing and use of sanitizer. Learn more in this article, presented by Chartwell Retirement Residences.
Washing your hands properly and frequently is vital to protecting your own health and stopping the spread of COVID-19 to others,* advises Government of Canada Public Health Services. But it’s also important for your health to take good care of your hands due to the higher frequency of handwashing and use of hand sanitizer.
Without proper hand-care precautions, frequent handwashing can cause dry skin that can flake, itch, crack and even bleed,* advises the American Academy of Dermatology Association. This can cause open wounds in the skin that could allow in bacteria, viruses, and other germs, increasing your risk of infection.*
Good handwashing and care practices
Here are some handwashing and hand care tips to protect against coronavirus infection and keep your skin healthy:
1. Prevent infection with frequent handwashing. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Wash the palm and back of each hand, between your fingers and under your nails, and then rinse well. Dry your hands with a paper towel and turn off the tap using the paper towel,* advises the Public Health Agency of Canada. Good handwashing practices also help prevent colds, the flu, and foodborne illness,” says HealthLink BC.
2. Use sanitizers when there’s no sink in sight. When soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol as long as your hands aren’t visibly soiled.* If they are soiled, use a wipe and then sanitizer to effectively clean and disinfect your hands,* says the BC Center for Disease Control.
3. Be gentle on your hands. Use lukewarm water with soap to wash your hands since hot water can increase skin damage and isn’t any more helpful against germs,* advises Mayo Clinic.
4. Apply moisturizer to keep skin hydrated. Applying moisturizer to your hands after handwashing helps to keep your skin hydrated and prevent or heal dry, chapped skin.* Pat your hands rather than rubbing them and then apply moisturizer while your hands are slightly damp.* When using hand sanitizer, apply moisturizer immediately after the sanitizer dries.*
5. Choose fragrance-free, hypoallergenic moisturizers. Use moisturizers that are emollient (thicker), fragrance-free, dye-free, and don’t contain common allergens to avoid irritating your skin,* recommends the Canadian Dermatology Association. Dermatologists recommend a moisturizing hand cream or ointment that contains mineral oil or petroleum jelly.* Also look for ointments and creams that you squeeze out of a tube, which are more effective than products you pump out of a bottle.*
6. Wear gloves for other wet work. Use gloves for washing dishes or when cleaning surfaces to protect dry hands.* Running a humidifier in the bedroom at night can also help moisten the air and your skin while you sleep,* suggests Cleveland Clinic.