6 hand hygiene tips to fight COVID-19

It is essential that you wash your hands often and adequately in order to protect your health and stop the spread of COVID-19 , as recommended by the Government of Canada’s Public Health Department. However, it is also important for your health that you take care of your hands due to the increased frequency of washing and the use of hand sanitizer.

If you don’t take the proper precautions, washing your hands often can cause dryness, irritation, chapping, and even bleeding, notes the American Academy of Dermatology Association. Open wounds can allow bacteria, viruses and other germs to enter, increasing the risk of infection *.

Good hand washing and care practices
Here are some hand washing and care tips to avoid coronavirus infection and keep your skin healthy :

Prevent infections by washing your hands frequently. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Clean the palm and back of each hand, between the fingers and under the fingernails, then rinse well. Dry your hands with a paper towel and turn off the faucet with the same towel, as advised by the Public Health Agency of Canada. The good hand washing practices also help prevent colds, flu, and foodborne diseases, according to HealthLink BC.

Use a disinfectant if you don’t have access to running water. If you don’t have soap or water, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol, unless your hands are visibly soiled. If so, wipe your hands before using a disinfectant for more effective washing,  recommends the BC Center for Disease Control.

Be gentle with your hands. Wash your hands with lukewarm water, as hot water can damage the skin and, moreover, it is not more effective at killing germs, point out specialists at the Mayo Clinic.

Use a moisturizer. Moisturize your hands after washing them to nourish your skin and prevent dryness. Pat your hands together instead of rubbing them together, and apply the moisturizer to slightly damp skin. If you’re using hand sanitizer, wait for it to dry, then apply your moisturizer immediately after.

Opt for a hypoallergenic, fragrance-free moisturizer. Choose a hypoallergenic moisturizer with emollient properties (thicker), fragrance and dye free so as not to irritate your skin , recommends the Canadian Dermatology Association. Dermatologists recommend a moisturizing cream or lotion containing mineral oil or Vaseline. It is also preferable that the product (cream or lotion) come in a tube rather than in a pump .

Wear gloves when working with your hands in the water. When washing dishes or cleaning surfaces, wear gloves to protect your skin from dryness . You can also plug in a humidifier at night to moisten the air and your skin while you sleep, experts at the Cleveland Clinic suggest.