“If evolution really works, how come mothers only have two hands?”

Okay, this quote from Milton Berle is only tangentially related to today’s blog post, but I couldn’t pass it up. My last contribution to our blog was on rising mortality due to Clostridia difficile (C.diff) and its fomite- and hand-related transmission.

So you are all washing your hands more often and lo, they are chapped and feel like 120 grit sandpaper. Do not despair, help is on the way. In the BMJ, researchers recently reported in a randomized trial that hand eczema could be significantly reduced by a combination of skin patch testing for allergy and counseling about the use of a lipid rich moisturizer three times daily, wearing gloves when exposing hands to water, and using disinfectants instead of washing when possible.

After five months, when rated by a blinded observer, the intervention group had an “eczema index” score improvement of 44% versus 9% for controls with usual care. 

Lest we forget, the prior blog post did point out that alcohol-based hand cleansers do not kill C.diff spores. That still requires good ol’ soap and water.

Marshall Kubota, MD

Ibler, Kristina Sophie. BMJ 2012; 345 doi. http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e7822

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