Eczema, skin lesions, cracks … Respecting barrier gestures against covid-19 does not spare our hands. Indeed, since the onset of the pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) and health authorities recommend washing hands “regularly and carefully with a hydroalcoholic solution or with soap and water“.

A gesture that is the cause of many skin problems when it is repeated too often, especially among caregivers, alerts theNational Academy of Medicine in one communicated of December 14, 2020.

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“Unfortunate work stoppages”

Thus, among health professionals, “several publications report iatrogenic skin lesions (due to a medical act, editor’s note) “(…) sometimes responsible for unfortunate work stoppages in the current context of health crisis“.

The publications mainly report redness, dry skin, cracks, erosions and itching, sometimes dyshidrosis or eczema with oozing lesions, or even bacterial superinfection by Staphylococcus aureus.

Prolonged wearing of protective gloves can worsen these lesions due to maceration“says the Academy.

More skin protection

Why such damage? “The multi-daily use of soap at basic pH and hydroalcoholic gel (…) alter the lipid film and the microbiome (all bacteria, editor’s note) present on the surface of the skin. “
And without a lipid layer or microbiome, the skin is no longer protected. It then becomes the site of inflammation, causing multiple lesions.

Lesions to be treated without delay

How then, so that hand washing, an essential barrier gesture in the fight against covid and against seasonal viral infections, becomes a cause of suffering or even disability?

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The National Academy of Medicine gives several leads to caregivers prone to skin problems.

  • Know the care to be applied to prevent and treat skin lesions on the hands: emollients and moisturizers several times a day, healing creams in the event of cracks or even corticosteroids for the most serious cases and antihistamines against itching.
  • Lesions must be treated as quickly as possible, as soon as they appear, without neglecting the maintenance of barrier gestures.
  • Prefer a soap – bar or cleansing gel – with a pH close to that of the skin (5.5 to 6.5), fragrance-free and antibacterial-free for washing hands.
  • Finally, avoid rubbing the hands and wearing gloves for a long time, which aggravate the lesions.