Washing hands with soap and water, as well as disinfecting hands, can help slow the spread of infectious diseases. Dissolving the virus’s structure renders it inactive, allowing one to touch surfaces without contaminating them. Many workplaces as well as schools, nursing homes, and more, realize how important it is to maintain a high standard of hand hygiene in their facilities and encourage employees and visitors to practice hand hygiene. However, one must ask themselves the question of how many times is it considered too much to wash your hands?
A recent Indian study showed the rise of hand eczema in the general population due to “overzealous” handwashing caused by the spread of COVID-19. The article wrote, “Proper hand hygiene is one of the enhanced preventive measure to halt the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) COVID-19. However, overzealous use of sanitizers and frequent hand washing may cause hand eczema (HE) owing to a disrupted skin barrier. We aim to report a rise in the incidence of new-onset HE among the general population due to overzealous hand hygiene.” A different study from China showed similar results with hand eczema prevalent in 74.5% of health care workers managing COVID-19.
People who have never suffered from hand eczema before started showing symptoms and were eventually diagnosed – all because of too much hand washing. People who have OCD often wash their hands too much as well, to the point of harming their skin.
Why does washing hands too much damage the skin?
When you wash your hands too many times, lipids on the surface of your skin gradually diminish. This causes the reagents used when hand washing or hand sanitizing to take deeper action into the superficial skin layers. This can cause irritation of the skin and even allergies.
When does hand washing turn into too much?
When a person is harmed, they have crossed the line of “good hand hygiene practices” and into the “too much hand hygiene practices”. Healthcare workers for example often don’t have a choice but to wash their hands repeatedly for fear of contaminating surfaces and passing along dangerous diseases, such as COVID-19, from one patient examined to the next. Most people working have clearer guidelines when it is recommended to wash hands. We wrote an entire article about this question exactly.
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