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In December, we usually discuss proper hand washing and sanitizing. Proper hand hygiene should be practiced year round, but December is National Handwashing Awareness Month, and is also cold and flu season. This year, hand washing and hand sanitizing have been constant because of COVID 19, and rightfully so. As a result though, the skin on our hands can take quite a beating in a single day.
Now that the weather is colder, our skin needs to be protected even more. Cold harsh weather can dry and damage exposed skin. Generally our hands are the last thing we cover because we use them constantly, and dry hands are more prone to chafing, skin tears, and other irritations which can make simple tasks uncomfortable or even painful. Here are 5 suggestions for protecting the skin on your hands, this winter:
Wear gloves every time you go outside. Keep a few pairs in convenient places to help you build this habit. Your car, coat pockets, near the front door, etc are great places to start.
Wear gloves to do housework. Rubber gloves for wet tasks like washing dishes, and cotton gloves for other tasks like dusting, folding laundry, sorting mail, etc.
Moisturize every day. Apply hand cream throughout the day or whenever your hands feel dry. Apply a thicker cream before bed.
Lower the temperature of your shower. Piping hot showers sound inviting, but they can dry out and damage your skin. Lower the heat, and apply a moisture barrier cream or oil to hands before showering to provide added protection. You can wipe the cream off and apply regular moisturizer after showering.
Use sunscreen, even in winter. Your hands will be exposed throughout the day and the sun still shines even in winter. Protect them from harmful rays with sunscreen.
These suggestions are not comprehensive, and they might seem excessive but healthy hands are necessary for a healthy life. I got a small paper cut on my finger this week, and that small cut stung every time I washed it, it rubbed against my gloves, and was just all around uncomfortable. Thankfully it was just a paper cut. The important thing to remember, is that even small areas of damaged skin on your hands will quickly become bothersome throughout a day of normal household tasks, and without proper care they may become worse instead of better. If you find that your hands are becoming excessively dry, cracked and/or painful, tell your healthcare provider. Be well with healthy hands, friends.
DISCLAIMER: This article contains information that is intended to help the readers be better informed regarding exercise and health care. It is presented as general advice on health care. Always consult your doctor for your individual needs. Before beginning any new exercise program it is recommended that you seek medical advice from your personal physician. This article is not intended to be a substitute for the medical advice of a licensed physician. The reader should consult with their doctor in any matters relating to his/her health.