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We’ve been hearing it since March: Wash your hands. And frequently. And while we would be the last people on Earth to tell you to nix handwashing advice from the World Health Organization, frequent (and necessarily excessive) hand washing can lead to super dry and uncomfortable hands. It’s not just handwashing, either: the wearing of personal protective equipment (PPE) and other personal hygiene measures can cause our skin to act up. Unfortunately, these are consequences we have no choice but to deal with, as beating COVID-19 is far more important than keeping, say, our hands nice and soft. But can anything be done to mitigate the side effects? Based on the following report by Dr. Filipino C. Buñag, Jr., our Assistant Medical Director, all hope is not lost yet.
I wash my hands frequently. What can I do to prevent dry hands?
Source: Elston DM. Letter from the editor: occupational skin disease among healthcare workers during the coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic [e-pub ahead of print]. J Am Acad Dermatol. 10.1016/j.jaad.2020.03.012
I’m a frontliner who has to wear a mask, gloves, and goggles everyday. How do I protect my skin?
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To our doctors and nurses on the frontline, saving our lives and risking theirs – I thank you and I applaud you. I’d like to help ease your discomfort and am offering any medical professional fighting COVID-19 and suffering from #PPE-induced skin issues a free telederm visit. Text me if you’d like to video-conference with me. I will assess and provide my dermatological assessment so that you can mend quickly and safely. In your text to 347-881-3392 (secure phone line), please include your (1) Full name (2) DOB (3) Picture of your healthcare ID (4) Preferred date/time for the appointment You will receive via text a link to join a secure teledermatology visit with me that you can view directly from your smartphone.
Source: Yan Y, Chen H, Chen L, et al. Consensus of Chinese experts on protection of skin and mucous membrane barrier for healthcare workers fighting against coronavirus disease 2019 Wang J.V., Parish L.C. Dermatologic manifestations of the 1918-1919 influenza pandemic. Skinmed. 2019;17:296–297.
I have red marks after removing my PPE. What do I do?
Pre- and Post-Work Skincare Sequence
If you have to wear PPE for work every day (and by the way, we salute you), Dr. Buñag recommends that you follow this procedure:
At home, before leaving for work, or 1 to 2 hours before donning PPE:
At work, before donning PPE:
We hope that these tips will help you feel more comfortable at the beginning or end of your work day. If you feel that you need further guidance from our MDs on how to soothe your skin, book a Belo Online Consultation here, or call 8819-BELO to set up a face-to-face appointment.