New working practices are increasing skin conditions but remain essential and there are ways to alleviate the problem.
Although many people are not at work, or are working from home, several million are still employed in a relatively normal way. Often in key sectors, helping the rest of us manage throughout the lockdown.
They face a number of factors, not least Covid-19 infection. Their health may be affected in other ways, including by skin conditions.
Medical staff are seeing this, from the constant wearing of personal protective equipment (PPE). Dryness, itching or painful skin are common, new papules, weals, or issues such as dermatitis are far from rare.
Alongside wearing PPE, an increased need for hand washing is exacerbating the issue. A situation which applies for most people venturing to work, whether or not they have to wear additional protection.
Be Safe At Work
Retail workers and others are wearing latex gloves, face masks, or visors. Masks are being worn whilst travelling, or at work, hands are being washed more often, or taking a shower, all understandable actions.
They can however have an impact on your skin, bringing back old conditions, or fresh issues. This in itself is still not a reason to abandon caution and risk a problem which may be worse than the relief.
Awareness and practical prevention measures are more important for those venturing to work than anyone. Rather than lower your guard, consider other options.
Actions To Take
A good share of Covid-19 skin conditions will be transitory and may be helped by self care. Using emollients such as petroleum jelly after hand washing and at home could help, or a visit to a pharmacist.
They can provide a wider range of emollients, skin creams with a curative effect, such as Aquaphor, or mild topical steroids.
If however you are at the higher end of that need and your condition is not easily dealt with, diagnosis and recommended treatment from a consultant dermatologist make sense.
Face to face appointments at your local hospital, or privately are simply not available but an alternative is. Teledermatology (a video link) is a proven approach for skin conditions and available during the epidemic.
An experienced consultant can normally diagnose your condition this way and arrange for prescriptions to be sent. In the unusual event direct treatment is the only option, this can be organised in a safer way.
Points To Remember
The most important point is not to abandon protective measures, because they are causing skin conditions. Changing work procedures may be an option, shorter, or rotating shifts, more frequent breaks.
Use soap and water, or at least alcohol gel, rather than industrial hand cleansers, which may not be sufficient for Covid-19. After washing your hands, pat them dry, instead of rubbing, use emollients if required.
Still keep washing your hands, especially on arrival at work, when returning home and before eating. If you have a skin condition such as eczema, take a look at a video on hand washing and additional advice.
Even though we can not meet so much, our team are also here to help. If you have concerns about skin coditions and going to work, please get in touch.