COVID-19 and Eczema


Photo courtesy Unsplash

So, you probably glanced at that headline and said…. “what?”

There have been many excellent articles and posts about staying healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic – from cleaning your house regularly, to getting exercise and eating properly. And of course it’s also important to look after mental health.

Hand washing is our most important health tip at this time, either with the preferred method of a 20- to 30- second scrub with soap and water, or the backup of hand sanitizer with alcohol.

As someone who suffers from eczema, I know this can wreak havoc on my hands. All that hand washing makes them dry and cracked. The alcohol in hand sanitizer often sets off a rash of eczema blisters (pardon the pun). And all that cleaning with disinfectant, even wipes, is another menace.

So here are some things to help you out if your eczema is rearing its ugly head, or your hands are just suffering through all the cleaning.

First is to make sure the soap you’re using is gentle on your hands and doesn’t irritate your eczema. For me, I choose products that are fragrance free as much as possible, and especially in hand soap.

Don’t confuse this with unscented. Fragrance is an additive that can be any of about 200 products, and doesn’t have to be specified on a label. If you don’t know what it is, you won’t know if you react to it. I’m not alone in this regard, as clinical studies show that eczema sufferers react to fragrance.

Put your special soap at every sink, including the kitchen. Otherwise, you’ll be tempted to use whatever is there. If you can’t get out to buy your soap, there are handy online services that can help. I’ve used Well in Canada to order products in the mail.

And, if you aren’t sure about what products to buy, I use a great app called Think Dirty, which allows me to scan the product and learn about the ingredients. And if you’re at home with time to kill, do some helpful research using reputable resources.

While you’re getting soap, find a good fragrance-free lotion to have at every sink as well. Putting lotion on regularly also helps.

Photo courtesy Unsplash

When you do any cleaning, wear rubber gloves to protect your hands. I’m guilty of forgetting about this, and I pay for it. At this time, we are all using strong cleansers including those with bleach, so all-natural cleaners that are safe on skin may not cut it. That’s where gloves can be so valuable.

Finally, stress is a trigger for many of us who suffer from eczema. This is a stressful time, as we all worry about our health, our family, the economy and more. Practice self-care in the form of meditation, yoga, deep breathing, exercise, and fresh air. Play some board games as a family, or do a puzzle.

Your eczema will appreciate the new, relaxed you!

Writing is one way that I work through my thoughts and feelings. I am writing my own reflections as a way to process what’s happening at this crazy time. It won’t be perfect, but it will help me. I hope you feel free to comment with your own reflections. Be safe.

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