Are Herpes On Hands An Occupational Hazard
Often, healthcare workers that deliver services to patients have been implicated as the mostly likely to suffer from herpes simplex of hands. While this can be possible, research shows that even other people who dont work in hospitals can have the infection. If you have a cut or broken skin on the hand and you touch the genitals or the mouth where there is an infection of HSV, you are likely to have the infection spreading to the hands.
A review of 79 culture-proven cases of herpes infection on hands from the laboratory of Calgary Alberta Public Health showed that peaks of the infection were mostly recorded in people under 10 years and those aged 20 to 30 years. A majority of the infections in patients aged 20 years or more were caused by HSV-II while patients aged 20 years and below were mostly infected with HSV-I. A majority of the cases were seen on the fingers or thumb, also known as herpetic whitlow, as opposed to the infection on the back or palm of the hands. The fingertip pad was the most frequently affected part of the hand.
What Do The Ecz
Although dyshidrotic eczema involves limited areas of the body, it can have a big impact on patients, said Dr. Gil Yosipovitch, MD, professor and director of the Miami Itch Center at the Dr. Phillip Frost Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Surgery at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine in Florida.
Unlike some forms of eczema, you dont usually cover it with clothes, so its visible to others. It can affect social interactions you may not want to shake hands, for example.
Its very common to see emotional stress induce or exacerbate this type of eczema, he added. A college student may be in the midst of exams, for example, and suddenly develop blistering at the fingertips.
- National Eczema Association | 505 San Marin Drive, #B300 | Novato, CA 94945
- 415-499-3474 or 800-818-7546
Things You Can Do To Ease Pompholyx
You should try to avoid contact with anything that might irritate your skin, including soaps, shampoos and other household chemicals.
Use an emollient as a soap substitute and wear cotton-lined gloves when you’re at risk of contact with other potentially irritating substances, such as when washing your hair or doing housework.
Do not burst the blisters. Let them heal on their own. If they’re particularly big, your GP may be able to drain them.
You May Like: I Have Eczema All Over My Body
How Is Dyshidrotic Eczema Diagnosed
Diagnosing the condition usually involves examining the patient, noting the symptoms and taking the patients history, says Lio.
If we suspect that a contact allergen is driving it, we may perform patch testing. Rarely, fungal infection can cause a very similar picture to occur clinically, so we can perform a scraping and a KOH examination to look for fungal forms, he adds. According to U.S. National Library of Medicines MedlinePlus guide, a KOH examination involves scraping the problem area of your skin with a needle or scalpel blade and examining the tissue under a microscope on a slide to which KOH has been added.
What Are The Clinical Features Of Hand Dermatitis
Hand dermatitis may affect the backs of the hands, the palms, or both. It can be very itchy, often with a burning sensation, and is sometimes painful. It has acute, relapsing, and chronic phases.
Acute hand dermatitis presents with:
- Red macules, papules, and plaques
Features of chronic hand dermatitis include:
- Dryness and scale
There are various causes and clinical presentations of hand dermatitis.
Read Also: How To Stop Severe Eczema Itching
How To Manage Herpes On Hands At Home
If you have been infected with herpetic whitlow, there are a few things that you can do at home that helps prevent the symptoms from worsening and speeds up the recovery. These tips also help with recurring of the symptoms.
- A person should cover the infected area lightly to prevent the virus from spreading to other people or other parts of the body
- People who have the infection should refrain from draining or popping the blisters because this habit can cause the virus to get to other area of the body or lead to a secondary bacterial infection
- Proper hygiene is needed all the time, especially when a person comes into contact with an affected skin
- The people working in the dental or medical field or other professions that put them at risk of getting the infection should ensure they follow the basic hygiene rules. When on duty, the individuals should ensure they use gloves that are clean, sterilized, and dry.
- If you wear contact lenses, you can avoid wearing the glasses to prevent spreading the HSV infection to the eyes
- People who are aware that they have the virus should inform their dental or medical professionals or even their hairdresser so that they put in place measure to avoid contacting the virus
- People should avoid getting in contact with the sores or blisters to prevent the spread of the virus.
Some Basic Things You Can Do At Work To Help Control Your Hand Eczema:
- Avoid allergens or irritating substances in products you use on the job like industrial hand cleansers or waterless, antibacterial cleansers that may trigger your hand eczema, or make it worse. These often contain ingredients like alcohol and solvents, that are very hard on your hands, especially during flare-ups.
- Protect your hands at work with a combination of heavy-duty vinyl or neoprene gloves and cotton glove liners. Regularly wash cotton liners and vinyl gloves if they arent disposable.
- Always carry your own hand cleanser, moisturizer and medication with you, wherever you go.
- Keep your clothes, protective gear, tools and work surfaces clean and free of residue from irritating substances.
- Treat wounds on your hands and bandage them in order to avoid irritation from allergens or chemical substances.
Your doctor may also prescribe a barrier repair cream, or topical steroid to help speed up healing.
You May Like: What Is A Home Remedy For Eczema
Other Causes For Hand Dermatitis:
Latex or non-sterile gloves are essential in the hospital or clinical settings. They are used to protect healthcare workers and their patients from germs, chemicals, and other dangerous substances.
In the same study published in the British Journal of Dermatology, 54% of the responders stated that they use non-sterile gloves for longer than two hours each day.
Unfortunately, there are individuals with true allergy to latex, rubber additives, preservatives or color dyes in the gloves. Wearing gloves every day can trigger an allergic reaction and bring on a hand eczema flare for these individuals.
Wearing gloves for a prolonged period can also trigger hand dermatitis in individuals who do not have a true allergy.
How can this happen?
When your skin has intact skin barrier and a healthy level of lipids, you can prevent limit the level of the latex, allergens or irritants passing beyond the stratum corneum layer of the skin. So the exposure level to these irritants is very low, and do not trigger any inflammation. However, after excessive and frequent hand washings, the skin barriers are weakened and breached. Now your skin is open and exposed, which allow a higher level of irritants penetrate and reach the inner layer of the skin. This can trigger an inflammation and lead to a flare of hand dermatitis.
What we just described is two-part phenomenon allergy vs. irritant. This is a subtle but important point in the management of hand dermatitis.
Tips For Reducing Outbreaks
Here are a few ways to prevent eczema flare-ups and manage symptoms:
- Apply cool compresses to your skin, or take a colloidal oatmeal or baking soda bath to relieve the itch.
- Moisturize your skin daily with a rich, oil-based cream or ointment to form a protective barrier against the elements. Apply the cream right after you get out of the shower or bath to seal in moisture.
- After you bathe, gently blot your skin with a soft towel. Never rub.
- Avoid scratching. You could cause an infection.
- Use fragrance-free detergents, cleansers, makeup, and other skin care products.
- Wear gloves and protective clothing whenever you handle chemicals.
- Wear loose-fitting clothes made from soft fibers, like cotton.
You should also avoid any known triggers.
Also Check: Why Does My Eczema Flare Up When I Sweat
Try A Thick Moisturizer
If you have eczema, your skin requires a lot of moisturizing. Use thick moisturizers and apply them immediately after bathing or showering. Petroleum jelly is a good option. Lotions may not be as effective at treating winter eczema.
For painful, itchy flare-ups, you may also use a cream containing hydrocortisone or hydrocortisone acetate. You should talk to your doctor before using hydrocortisone or hydrocortisone acetate cream, though. Your doctor may also prescribe something stronger to curb your flare-up.
Make sure to moisturize your skin more than once per day.
What Questions Should I Ask My Doctor
- How can you tell that I have dyshidrotic eczema?
- If I dont have dyshidrotic eczema, what other skin condition might I have?
- Is there a cream or ointment that you can prescribe?
- What medications do you recommend?
- What at-home treatments do you recommend?
- Is there a specific brand of moisturizer that you recommend?
- Should I see a dermatologist or another specialist?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Dyshidrotic eczema is a common skin condition that can be painful and itchy. You may only have it once, or you may have it off and on throughout your life. Talk to your healthcare provider if you have painful blisters and itchy skin. Over-the-counter creams, ointments and medications can treat mild cases of dyshidrotic eczema. More severe cases of dyshidrotic eczema may require prescription medications or other therapies. With a proper skin care routine, you can reduce the impact of dyshidrotic eczema.
Read Also: Body Lotion For Eczema Prone Skin
Is Eczema Contagious Or Not
No, it is not contagious. It is only a skin condition that is exclusive to the individual. It makes working with hands and fingers difficult and even painful, but it cannot be passed on to healthy people simply by touch. The reason that is taboo is the unsightly impact it has on the patient, both at the peak and towards the end of the ailment.
Favorite App For Managing Dyshidrotic Eczema
When youre in the middle of a flare-up, its easy to forget how it developed. Eczema Tracker allows you to keep track of triggers and symptoms, and get useful advice for managing the condition. Take a photo of your skin on good days and flare-up days, so you can better gauge the state of your skin today. Local reports on weather and humidity can help you to anticipate future symptoms, and the app analyzes your data to help you find trends that tend to lead to flare-ups.
Additional reporting by Anne L. Fritz.
Recommended Reading: How To Know If Eczema Is Healing
Treatment For Pompholyx From A Gp
The main treatments your GP may recommend to treat the symptoms of pompholyx are similar to those used when treating atopic eczema, including:
- emollients use these all the time and instead of soap to stop your skin becoming dry
- steroid cream this reduces the inflammation and irritation and helps the skin heal
Your GP will probably prescribe a strong steroid cream to use for a short period of time to minimise the risk of steroid side effects.
You may be advised to wear cotton gloves at night to help the cream sink into the skin.
You can also try:
- soaking your hands in a dilute solution of potassium permanganate for 10 to 15 minutes once or twice a day for up to 5 days
- antihistamines to relieve the itching and help you sleep if the itchiness is keeping you awake at night
These treatments are available from pharmacies without a prescription. Your pharmacist can advise whether they’re suitable for you and how you should use them.
Antibiotics may be prescribed if your skin becomes infected.
What Are Emollients And How Do They Work
Emollients are mixtures of oil , or paraffin , and water in different formulations. They are designed to smooth and hydrate the skin. Their effects are short-lived and they need to be applied very frequently. There are many different types of emollients, and it will be important to find one or two types that suit you and are practical for your daily routine. You need to use emollients several times a day as directed by your doctor or nurse.
You May Like: What Is The Best Topical Treatment For Eczema
A Final Word On Identifying The Cause Of Your Contact Dermatitis Rash
Its important to remember that the rash of contact dermatitis does not necessarily mean you have an allergy. Often, avoiding the product will clear away the rash. If youre not seeing relief and the rash continues to occur or worsens, check with your dermatologist, who can recommend skin allergy testing to find the exact trigger.
Related Conditions And Causes Of Dyshidrotic Eczema
As mentioned, atopic dermatitis or contact dermatitis, especially when related to a nickel allergy, can increase your risk of having dyshidrotic eczema, according to the AAD.
Differentiating between the conditions can be a challenge, and sometimes they are related anyway, says Kindred. Atopic dermatitis prefers skin folds, such as the insides of the elbows and the knees. Contact dermatitis is usually within the location that the skin was in contact with the trigger. The confusing part is that both atopic dermatitis and contact dermatitis may be associated with dyshidrotic eczema, confusing the picture.
Learn more about these conditions from the NEA:
- Atopic dermatitis Also simply known as eczema, atopic dermatitis is chronic and is the most common type of eczema.
- Contact dermatitis This happens when physical contact with an irritating substance or allergen triggers an irritation or inflammation reaction of the skin.
Read Also: How To Treat Eczema On Breast
How Do I Know If I Have Atopic Dermatitis On My Hands
Symptoms vary from mild dryness, redness and itchiness through to flaking, cracked and intensely itchy hands. In the worse cases skin may develop blisters and cracks and weep or bleed. Any part of the hand can be affected, and symptoms vary from person to person.
If you or your child already experience Atopic Dermatitis on other areas of your body then it is likely that the two are related. You can find out more about how to recognize the symptoms of Atopic Dermatitis in Atopic Dermatitis and babies, Atopic Dermatitis and children and Atopic Dermatitis and adults.
While Hand Eczema can start during childhood, it is more common in working-age adults. It often effects people whose hands are in contact with chemicals and other irritants as part of their jobs. As with all types of Atopic Dermatitis, Hand Eczema is non-contagious but it can be difficult to live with and cause problems in the workplace. You can find out more in How Atopic Dermatitis affects sleep and quality of life.
Which Occupations Are Most At Risk
Cleaners, housewives, care workers, chefs, hairdressers, mechanics, surgeons, dentists, nurses, florists, machine operators, aromatherapists, beauticians, and construction workers are some of those with an occupational risk of hand dermatitis due to frequent wet work, contact with irritants and minor trauma.
Also Check: How To Treat Eczema On Your Face
Hand Eczema Dos And Don’ts For Cleansing
We do not have a cure, but we have many good treatments and many more in development. Usually we can help people get their skin much better so that they can be comfortable and return to normal activities, says Lio.
Some people have a single outbreak that clears without treatment, but it is much more common to have recurring flare-ups throughout life, according to the AAD.
What Type Of Moisturizer Is Good For Hand Eczema
Mild hand eczema on the knuckles
The more water there is in a lotion or moisturizer, the more likely it is to worsen your hand eczema. Moisturizers usually contain more water than oil, and when the water evaporates it can dry out the skin. The best moisturizer for hand eczema is a greasy ointment, such as petroleum jelly. Be sure to read the label to determine which moisturizer has the least amount of water.
The NEA Seal of Acceptance directory has a list of moisturizers specially formulated for eczema skin.
Apply the moisturizer to your hands immediately after you bathe and each time you wash your hands.
Remember that it can take a few months for a flare-up to clear. Even if your hands appear eczema-free, you will sometimes need to take special care with them to avoid a return of symptoms.
Don’t Miss: How To Heal Broken Skin From Eczema
How Should I Care For Atopic Skin On My Hands
Regular and effective skincare will also help you to give your skin the support it needs, prolong the periods between flare-ups and calm and soothe skin when it is at its most irritable and itchy.
Wash your hands in lukewarm water and use a gentle, fragrance-free handwash or cleanser that has been specially formulated for regular use and/or for atopic skin such as Eucerin Bath and Shower Oil.
Ty to avoid waterless, antibacterial cleansers as they often contain alcohol and solvents that can exacerbate your symptoms and make flare-ups worse.
Pat rather than rub your skin dry and apply a moisturiser immediately after you wash your hands.
Moistruising your hands
Keep a hand moisturiser next to every sink in your home or workplace to ensure you use it every time you wash your hands and whenever your skin feels dry. Eucerin AtopiControl Hand Cream has been specially formulated to give atopic hands the daily hydrating care they need and contains Licochalcone A and Ceramides .
Steroids are the most common medical treatment option, but mild steroid creams and ointments do not always address symptoms on thick skin so, in some cases, your doctor may recommend a stronger formulation. Ultraviolet therapy is also sometimes used to treat severe Hand Dermatitis.