The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world’s practices massively. Several items that would have been regarded as strange only two years ago have become commonplace. Sanitizers have become ubiquitous, and wherever you go, you are requested to sanitize before entering the premises. However, health facility centers had sanitizes displayed on nooks and corners even before the novel virus engulfed the world in its wake.
Health practitioners understand the significance of sanitization and strive to wash their hands or sanitize them frequently. Nurses deal with multiple patients and often have to move to another patient right after tackling the first one; thus, the risk of transmitting germs or bacteria becomes high. Nurses’ hand health is of extreme importance, and they need to ensure that they keep them germ-free all the time.
Frequent hand washing and sanitizing help avoid being exposed to germs or viruses and keep illnesses at bay. However, the practice may lead to several skin problems. Nurses have reported that regular exposure to harsh soap and sanitizers exacerbate their skin condition and develop dermatitis.
The COVID-19 has put the nurses under pressure, and now even patients remind them to rewash their hands. Although most nurses take preventive measures and ensure to follow all protocols while dealing with patients, ignoring their hand health can result in serious illnesses.
Frequent hand washing and sanitizing may help avoid germs or viruses and keep illnesses at bay. They may lead to several skin problems. Nurses have reported that regular exposure to harsh soap and sanitizers exacerbate their skin condition and develop dermatitis.
Aside from nurses, other people who suffer from compulsive hand washing may also develop a dermatological condition, hand dermatitis. Dermatitis is often called eczema and can adversely affect people’s palms, dorsum, or both in some states. When nurses ignore their hand health during a crisis, they become more prone to developing hand dermatitis, which may exacerbate their condition.
Mostly hand dermatitis is symmetrical and bilateral; however, in some cases, it can be unilateral. Atopic dermatitis may develop at any age and are more prone to contact irritant dermatitis and give rise to other clinical patterns on hands. In contrast, Pompholyx, or vesicular palmar eczema, is generally chronic. In this condition, blisters occur on fingers, palms, or soles. Some nurses also sweat in stress, and it worsens Pompholyx.
Nummular pattern hand dermatitis is another type of hand dermatitis that nurses suffer from because of excessive exposure to soap. It may impact any area of hands leading to oval or round plaques, either dry or exudative. The surrounding skin appears normal. Nummular pattern dermatitis generally appears on forearms or lower legs.
Many nurses understand that frequent hand washing is part of their job. Still, they can take other measures to reduce the adverse impact. Nursing leaders can bring reforms in changing soaps and other sanitization material. Several nurses want to acquire an authoritative position and look to enroll in flexible learning programs. They can avail of distance learning and register in doctoral nursing programs online to gain in-depth insight and earn advanced skills.
Below are some tips that will shed light on how nurses can keep their hands’ health top-notch despite washing and sanitizing them regularly:
1. Moisturize After Sanitization
Our skin needs to stay hydrated. Most soaps act as a magnet and suck existing moisture from layers of hands, leaving them dry. Nurses must keep a hand cream handy and replenish their skin after every wash. Moisturizing hands after every wash might seem impossible, considering nurses need to wash their hands frequently. They can still try to apply it after two to three washes. Using hand cream increases the moisture content of hands, provides a protective film and soothes them. Dryness on the hands can be the cause of getting into skin-related conditions. Nurses must take care of their needs in health crises and ensure to moisturize after sanitization.
2. Be Gentle While Scrubbing
Medical experts raise awareness about the correct way of washing hands, which states scrubbing hands for at least twenty seconds. Giving hands in the soap for twenty seconds multiple times a day impacts hands’ skin. Nurses must be gentle while scrubbing and should not try taking out germs and bacteria harshly. Nurses are generally in a rush as they have multiple tasks awaiting them. They tend to get aggressive while washing hands to get done with it quickly. They must try to be gentle while scrubbing to keep their hands’ skin healthy. In addition, they can also switch to milder soaps that do not have harsh substances.
3. Use Warm Water to Wash Hands
Warm water is soothing and restores skin. Hot water can have a harsh reaction and can damage hands. Nurses generally have a specific sink where they wash hands; they can ask authorities to have a warm supply of water to avoid hand health conditions. Besides, hot water does not mean cleaner hands, and neither does cold water. Warm water does not hurt skin moisture and keeps the moisture content locked.
4. Apply Masks on Hands
Nurses may find applying masks on hand an added task. They have hectic schedules that keep them on their toes, and most nurses neglect their skincare as it demands them to invest time. Nurses must understand that they have to wash their hands more than regular people; thus, the likelihood of them developing skin conditions is high. They should treat their hands with a soothing mask, especially if they have dry skin. They do not necessarily have to buy expensive branded masks and can try natural remedies. Applying a mixture of glycerin, lemon juice, and rose water, then wearing a pair of cotton gloves while sleeping can do wonders. Nurses will have softer hands and can prevent skin conditions like dermatitis.
5. Pat Hands Dry Thoroughly After Washing
Another important aspect of hand care is to pat dry hands thoroughly after every wash. Most nurses grab tissue papers, run them on their hands, and rush to their next task. It leaves water residue on their hands, which may interact with other toxic materials from the environment and react. Nurses can keep a soft towel, specifically for their hands, and dry them entirely before indulging in another activity. They must ensure that their towels get dried, as damp towels can also adversely affect hand skin.
Healthcare practitioners are the warriors who work hard to help sick people recover by providing them the best possible care. Nurses are responsible for plenty of tasks and often have to rush from one patient to another. Sometimes they have to cater to patients in emergency whose condition might suddenly get worsened. Nurses understand the importance of hygiene and sanitization and ensure that they wash hands or sanitize them regularly.
Although nurses must wash hands to keep them safe from germs, especially in health crises like COVID-19, it may result in dermatitis. Nurses can take measures and care for their skin to avoid getting harsh skin conditions. Nurses provide sick people with medical services, and they must take care of overall health to perform efficiently.
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