Some people may not think there's any connection between coronavirus (COVID-19) and Dupuytren's, but the pandemic is actually quite relevant for people who are living with this condition.
The good news is that the two conditions are not directly related. COVID-19 does not increase the risk of Dupuytren's contracture and vice versa. But, if you already have Dupuytren's, you must be extra careful to ensure you do not catch COVID.
We know that Dupuytren's disease can make it difficult to perform simple tasks such as rinsing, drying, and washing your hands and fingers. This can be risky, as COVID makes it very important for people to engage in regular and frequent handwashing practices. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that everyone wash their hands for at least 20 seconds at a time to effectively get all the germs off and keep you safe. This is not only important for your health, but also for the health of those around you.
However, it isn't that simple for those suffering from Dupuytren's, as abnormal skin folds make it difficult to wash the hands. Some people with severe symptoms may even struggle to separate their fingers or straighten them outward to wash in between and underneath them near the palm. This not only makes it hard to get germs off the hands, but it can also pose a risk for skin integrity. This is because areas that have excess moisture are hotbeds for sores, odor, and even skin infections if they aren't regularly cleaned.
There are many ways that you can get creative to wash your hands as much as you need to. Most of us do not pay much attention to how we wash our hands. We’ve been doing it for years, so it's one of many habits that come naturally to us. Washing hands involves a lot of rinsing, but you also must ensure every corner is given proper attention.
Pay attention to every part, including the sides and back of the hand and the palm. You must also address each part of the finger: the front, back, each side, fingernail, and fingertip. Another especially important part is the web spaces that can be found in between each finger where it connects to the palm.
You might be worried about washing your hands with such detail if you have Dupuytren's disease. The solution lies in using a cloth soaked in soapy water. You can also take advantage of baby wipes or paper towels to get the job done. Use these to wash every corner of your hand and then use a separate, dry cloth or towel to wipe your hand clean in the same manner. Stay away from solutions that contain antiseptics, ammonia, or chlorine, as they dry out the skin and cause irritation. This makes you more likely to experience skin cracking, which can be painful, uncomfortable, and difficult to treat or bandage. Cracked skin also places you at further risk for infection or sores.
If you are having such intense difficulty washing your hands due to symptoms of Dupuytren's, it might be time to discuss these issues with your doctor because surgery might be needed to help you regain function of the hand. But if you use some of these tips, you can continue good hygiene practices and protect yourself against COVID-19. Additionally, natural treatments for Dupuytren's serve to better hydrate the skin and protect you from sores, itchiness, odor, and other issues that can cause further complications.