The COVID-19 pandemic paved the way for the rising popularity of hand sanitizers. People always carry these items anywhere and everywhere they go to keep themselves protected from the deadly virus. But what if you get a wound out of the blue? Can you put hand sanitizer on a cut, too?
Your skin serves as the barrier between contaminants and pathogens in the air, every surface you touch, and your exposed and sensitive flesh and blood.
One common issue that many people experience with frequent hand washing and hand sanitizer use is that the skin can dry out with frequent applications of alcohol and soap.
These ingredients are crucial for the proper sanitization of your hands. However, they also tend to strip off the natural protective oils from your skin. It can then result in cracked and dry skin, especially around the cuticles and nails.
Whenever there are breaks on your skin, whether from dry and cracked skin or wounds and cuts, it is still an opening. This opening can serve as the perfect path for infection to enter, whether it is the wound site’s topical infection or a form of systemic infection such as the common flu or worse, even the Coronavirus.
How to Sanitize Wounds Properly
Typically, if there is a cut on your skin, taking care of it is pretty easy. You sanitize the cut, cover this with a bandage, and allow it to heal.
During these critical times of the pandemic with more risks of infected surfaces, everything has become a bit more complicated than usual. For instance, if you get a paper cut on your palm or finger, what should you do? You could sanitize the wound and put a clean bandage over it. However, doing so can get in the way of future sanitization of other parts of your hands. This can also get in the way of using hand sanitizer or washing your hands.
Wound care is normally something that many people tend to ignore and take for granted. Bleeding is often enough for flushing out contaminants from the wound before it clots. Many people also have proper immune systems for warding off minor infections during the healing process of the wound. Sadly, if you constantly wash the site of the wound or apply hand sanitizer, this will only continue to re-open the wound. There is also the risk that this will wound will pick up environmental contaminants.
Remember that proper sanitization of wounds is a lengthier process.
Make sure you wash your hands, with the wound included, to prevent contaminating it with your unclean hands. Here are a few tips to remember:
- Apply enough pressure to the cut until it no longer bleeds. If the cut is especially jagged, long, or deep, or the bleeding continues, make sure you seek immediate medical attention.
- Use water to rinse the cut to get rid of any particles that might have been stuck on it. Bigger particles must be removed using tweezers in case of wounds or cuts brought about by crashes, falls, or large impacts.
- Apply some type of antibiotic cream.
- Bandage the cut to keep out the contaminants and ensure that it doesn’t open again.
How to Handle Open Cuts and Wounds on Hand
During these times, you must wash your hands regularly whenever you go out. There are several things you need to and these include the following:
- Use water and soap for washing your hands regularly. It may mean removing the bandage and rewashing the wound. But, once you have already sealed it, you should avoid opening it again. Always be careful and never forget to sanitize.
- Wear gloves for protecting the wound every time you need to go out. Be sure to wear your gloves as a shield if you will be going outside and remove them once you get back home. You also need to sanitize all surfaces you touch, including your phone, doorknobs, steering wheel, and others.
- Use a hand sanitizer every time you need to and if there is no water and soap available. It is also recommended that you use full sealing bandage instead of the usual line-like bandage. This will help seal all around the bandage’s edge instead of the ends alone. The full seal can keep both water and soap and hand sanitizer out of your cut and let you wash it just like other surfaces of your skin. With the use of this bandage, there is no need for you to peel this off before you use hand sanitizer or wash your hands.
- Always have a moisturizing lotion handy. Frequent application of hand sanitizer or soap can make your hands’ skin dry out and this will also help you lessen the discomfort on your part. Using a moisturizer right away after you wash your hands or after each application of your hand sanitizer can help ensure that your skin doesn’t dry out.
- Keep a close eye on your cut or wound to ensure that it doesn’t get infected. Watch out for inflammation and redness around the cut or any other signs of unnatural colors, swelling, and pus. A scab or a bit of redness is perfectly fine. But, any unusual colors or continued and oozing bleeding are definitely not. These may already signal infection and you need to see your doctor right away to get medical attention.
Generally speaking, you should always make sure that your hands are clean and never touch your face as much as possible. An open cut or wound is going to hurt every time you wash your hands and may also stick whenever you apply your hand sanitizer. However, if you seal it using a good bandage, this can protect you more. Don’t forget to change your bandage one or two times a day to get the best effects. After two days or so, your wound will already be healed enough to ensure that you will no longer be prone to having it torn open or incurring an infection.