I’m no stranger to hand washing. I wash between clients, I’ve taught hand washing to massage therapists, and my family is extra-careful about hand washing in our home.
Now coronavirus is the new boss of my hand washing, and frequency is way up. Countless times a day I am thoroughly washing my hands.
Within days of bumping up the frequency: Raw, red, chapped hands. They hurt! Even water made them sting.
Moreover, my hands are missing being immersed in massage lotion. Apparently, doing regular massage therapy had kept my hands from drying up and falling off. Those were the days, right?
To deal with this new chapping problem, I tried various combinations of lotion, hand cream, calendula cream, shea butter, and antibiotic ointment over the open skin. I applied a thick coat, then covered them with gloves.
Found the Formula
Finally, I asked Dianna Dapkins at PurePro to send me their thickest cream. Within a couple of days, my order of Deep Tissue Massage Cream arrived. I applied it at night, covered with the gloves, and my hands softened and healed within a couple of days. My hand care “kit” is shown here–affordable cotton gloves, and Purepro Deep Tissue Massage Cream.
We’ve used PurePro for years for our oncology massage therapy and hospice work. I chose them for their clean ingredients, hypoallergenic blends, and use in hospitals and hospices nationwide. I chose them because I didn’t want to think–much less worry–about whether my lotion was safe for my clients. Plus, I like supporting a small business. I like the feel of their lotion.
I really like the feel of intact skin.
While Purepro + gloves fixed the problem, I have another trick.
First off, I don’t like drying my hands with paper, then throwing it away. Paper towels irritate my skin. Sure, I use them when I’m out, but at home, I have more choices.
Weeks ago, seeing the virus heading our way, I ordered 80–yes 80–cheap washcloths. We were always a washcloth-in-the-kitchen family, with a few piles of them at-the-ready, and we were low on stock. Sponges make me squeamish. (Don’t they say the dirtiest thing in the kitchen is the sponge?)
Washcloths for Drying Hands
The washcloths are perfect little single-use drying towels. I pluck one from the pile, then gently pat my hands instead of rubbing or towel-drying.
We use the washcloths, single-use per job, for other jobs, too. A job is defined as wiping counters, or doing one sinkful of dishes, or wiping down a series of fixtures and door handles. After its job, the washcloth is tossed in the container labelled “DIRTY!” The dirty container is isolated from the clean ones. We handle the dirty ones carefully on their way into the washer, then wash our hands–again–after we load it up.
We line-dry most of our personal laundry, but not the washcloths. A washcloth load goes in on hot, dries on high heat, and we fold/lay them (using just-washed hands) in containers marked “CLEAN!” All lined up, the little troopers are small, on the thin side. Under the pandemic plan, we are using more of them. We’ll see whether they increase our water/sewer use in the long run.
Clean hands. Clean dishes and surfaces.
The tiny sphere of Things I Can Control
These habits bring me great peace of mind. At the top of every list of guidelines is good hand washing. Adding in good hand-drying, plus systems for sanitizing our surfaces, we’re pros.
Pros with soft hands.
This virus is a warrior, but it is also a teacher. It is re-teaching us the basics of hygiene from preschool and kindergarten. These lessons will serve us against the many other bugs that come our way during our lifetimes. This one may be the biggest, but it ain’t the first or the last.
Wash, dry, lubricate, glove. Repeat.
If we come out of this with nothing else, may we come out with better care for our hands.