Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Something I never thought I'd hear a doctor say

I went to a dermatologist today. I have what he termed "hand eczema"--the inside of my right hand is severely dry and itchy, and it gets so tight that I can't extend my fingers all the way without bleeding. Fun, huh? Sorry if that grosses anyone out. But the doctor told me something that I never thought I'd hear a doctor say. "You need to stop washing your hands so much."

What?!? It's so important to wash your hands! I am such a freak about keeping my hands clean. That's what we're told to do, after all. Wash before you handle food, after you handle food, after you go to the restroom, before you play with the kids, after you play with the kids, after you touch anything dirty (which, in my opinion, just about everything is dirty!), etc. But evidently I've been a little too diligent.

Anyway, the doctor said that I should think every time I go to wash my hands and decide if I REALLY need to wash them. (I did that tonight, and I saved at least 20 hand washings.) And he said that most of the time during the day, I will only need to rinse my hands and skip the soap. I just kinda stared at him, slack-jawed. He said that I may only need to use soap a couple of times a day. What??? Rocked my whole way of thinking. Not sure I totally buy it, but I'll think about it.

He said that our society has become too germaphobic. "There are germs on your steering wheel that will get on your hands as soon as you leave here," he said. You mean not everyone takes a baby wipe, puts hand sanitizer on it, and cleans their steering wheel with it?

Please note: I consider my dermatologist's advice to be strictly for me. The rest of you better be washing your hands at least 100 times a day to keep the germs away from me! :)

Now if only I could get a doctor to say, "You really need to eat more fried chicken and mashed potatoes."


Angela said...

That's so bizarre... I've been thinking I need to see a dermatologist about exactly the same thing. The skin on my left hand in particular is so dry that if I stretch it, it bleeds. I've got these weird little blisters, too, which I think are my skin's way of trying to retain some sort of moisture. And come to think of it, I do wash my hands an awful lot; probably at least 20 times a day. And when soap and water aren't handy, I use anti-bac gels. I guess I'll have to be more careful with the soap, as well. :) Anyway, it's funny that we have the same problem. Almost like we're related or something.

Morale said...

Amen sister! How funny. My sister is the same way. It must be a kid thing. Your more aware of them -germs.
Funny. Keep it up.

Tiffany Taylor said...

I'm trying really hard to be more aware of my hand washing now. I never realized how bad (or good) I'd gotten--I was washing at least 100 times per day.

Ang, your hands definitely sound like mine. Those are water blisters (I don't have any currently, but the derm did ask if I had had any). Here was my prescription, which should work for you, too: use Aquaphor cream and/or Cetaphil cream. Aquaphor is almost as thick as Vaseline, so you don't want to put it on right before you drive or open a jar. Cetaphil may be better during the day. Use lotion after every hand washing. Don't use the anti-bac gels.

The derm also gave me a topical steroid to use at night and during the day, but I am a little too freaked out to use it at present. He said that I can't touch the kids' skin after I put it on. Um...tell me how to avoid that! :)