In the current scenario of COVID-19. Many of us use hand sanitizers repeatedly to protect us from getting infected as well as preventing the spread of coronavirus disease. It is important to protect ourselves from infection. At the same time, excessive use of sanitizers causes some damage to the skin and our hands.
Hand sanitizers contain usually contain 95% of alcohol and alcohol kills bacteria and coronaviruses and how we are protected. But when sanitizers are applied even the good bacteria are also killed. There is also a possibility that the bad bacteria also might become a bit more resistant to the antibiotic treatment.
In the current scenario, we cannot stop using sanitizers but awareness of the problems that may result from excessive use of sanitizers can help us.
Dryness in palms
If you are repeatedly using your hand sanitizers that contain harsh chemicals and repeated exposure of hands to detergents can cause dryness.
This can further lead to broken skin and infection.
Contact dermatitis is most often found on the hands, and it is often caused when you keep your hands wet for longer periods of prolonged exposure to low-grade irritants. The webs of the fingers are the first to be affected, but inflammation can also affect the fingers, backs of the hands, and wrists.
Aquagenic Wrinkles Of the Palm
A recent study has also suggested that excessive use of sanitizers may cause Aquagenic Wrinkles Of the Palm (AWP). This is another skin condition that is commonly associated with a more serious health condition - Cystic Fibrosis. But AWP can also develop from the use of harsh chemicals and frequent washing of hands.
AWP is a skin condition characterized by transient and recurrent white papules and plaques on the palms that are caused by sweat or contact with water and are accompanied by a burning sensation, discomfort, pruritus, and/or hyperhidrosis.
In a study conducted by the CDC's Epidemic Intelligence Service, researchers discovered that healthcare workers who preferred hand sanitizers over soap and water for routine handwashing were nearly six times more likely to be exposed to norovirus outbreaks, which cause the majority of cases of acute gastroenteritis.
The norovirus, which causes vomiting and diarrhea, is a highly infectious virus. The norovirus can infect and sicken anyone. Norovirus can infect by direct contact with an infected person or putting your unwashed hands in your mouth after touching dirty surfaces or by ingesting contaminated food or drink
You may get rashes and which will only aggravate our situation during COVID time.
So what can we do to manage this?
1. Do not use hand sanitizers unnecessarily.
If you are at home, you do not need them and you can use soap and water to wash your hands. Also, you need to use hand sanitizers with caution. Sanitizers contain alcohol which is an inflammable substance. Do not use sanitizers when you are cooking and near the flame. Sanitizers should not be used if you work with other chemicals.
2. Do not use sanitizers when your hands are wet are greasy.
Hand sanitizers do not work on wet hands. When you apply it on wet hands the alcohol concentration decreases and it might not kill the bacteria and viruses. Sanitizers cannot remove dirt from your hands. Washing your hands certainly is more advantageous in this situation.
3. Do not eat immediately after applying hand sanitizers.
Ingesting any ethanol or methanol-based hand sanitizer may cause symptoms that are very similar to alcohol poisoning, such as nausea, vomiting, headache, stomach pain, impaired balance, and blurred vision.
4. Prefer washing hands with a soap
If you have the option of washing hands. You should prefer it over the use of hand sanitizers. Washing can remove dirt and kills harmful microbes. They are less harmful to your skin as compared to alcohol-based hand sanitizers.
5. Apply moisturizers to get rid of skin dryness.
If you hand sanitizers repeatedly and wash your hands frequently, it is common that you will get dry skin. To prevent this you can use moisturizers.
Moisturizers are essential and aid in the repair of the damaged outer skin and the locking of moisture inside the skin, rendering it soft. They should be applied several times a day and whenever the skin feels dry.
You can also use coconut oil or sunflower oil to moisturize your hands.
6. Wear hand gloves if necessary.
Wearing latex or rubber gloves when coming into contact with water or detergents, especially when washing the dishes or when using cleaning products, can help to maintain the skin's barrier.
During COVID times it is impossible to avoid hand sanitizers completely but rather use them with caution. And at the same time, we should take precautions and follow social distancing to keep ourselves safe.