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6 Tips to Care for Hands in Winter

Are your hands dry and irritated from the cold weather and frequent hand washing? 

During this time of year, it is important to pay close attention to the health of your skin – especially your hands.  The heating in your home takes moisture out of the air, thus taking the moisture out of your skin.  Here are some tips to help take care of your hands:

  1. Drink plenty of water, and consider using a humidifier to put moisture back into the air.
  2. Use petroleum based lotions/creams at home.  Creams are actually better than lotions since many lotions contain alcohol, which further dries out the skin. (If you are a health care provider, use water-based lotions at work.  When at home, use heavy duty hand cream to soothe and hydrate.)
  3. Use tepid water to wash hands, and wash gently.  Hot water only dries out the skin.
  4. Wear appropriate protective gloves when washing cars or dishes, scrubbing the tub or doing any kind of work with an increased risk of damaging hands.
  5. Wear gloves or mittens anytime you are outside during the winter, even while driving. 
  6. If your hands are chapped and the skin is broken, slather your hands with Neosporin or any triple antibiotic ointment. Broken skin allows infections to enter your body and cause illness. 

Carla Stevens is director of WakeMed Occupational Health & Safety.