Are Eczema and Other Skin Conditions a Risk Factor for Covid-19?
We know so little about the novel coronavirus, Covid-19, but what we do know can help us reduce our personal risk factors.
Skin Medications and Covid-19
We are starting to understand that the health of our immune system plays a big role in how we handle and recover from the disease.
Currently, a high-risk group for serious coronavirus complications are those who are immune-suppressed. This is a consideration for those on certain prescription drugs to manage skin conditions. If you are on immunosuppressant drugs (such as prednisone, cyclosporine, azathioprine, methotrexate, and mycophenolate mofetil) to control eczema or other skin conditions, it’s time to call your doctor about reducing your medication to the lowest dose possible to control your symptoms. If you have any reason to suspect you have already contracted Covid-19, call your physician and discuss stopping your immunosuppressant medications altogether for the duration of your infection.
If you are on herbal medicine from Amethyst Holistic Skin Solutions, there is no need to worry about immunosuppression. In fact, many of the herbs we use in your individually tailored treatment are actually anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and support the immune system.
Can I Contract Coronavirus Through Skin Lesions?
If you have cracked or damaged skin due to eczema, TSW, acne or psoriasis you might be wondering if you are more susceptible to Covid-19 and if it can enter through damaged skin to cause infection. Right now, we have no evidence to suggest that Covid-19 will infect you through skin lesions.
While there is no reason to suggest that corona virus can infect cracked or damaged skin tissue, it can be a concern if you have itching or skin lesions on your face, especially on or near your eyelids, nose, or lips. This can make it harder not to touch your face, which risks introducing any coronavirus that may be on your hands into your eyes, nose or mouth. Skin damage can also make you reticent about washing your hands thoroughly – because frequent and thorough hand washing can hurt!
How Can I Protect My Skin from the Effects of So Much Hand-Washing?
Even those without skin troubles can find their hands red, dry and stinging from frequent hand-washing. Here are some tips to lessen the harsh effects hand-washing can have on your skin:
- You don’t need to use piping hot water to wash your hands. We know that heat often triggers eczema and rosacea flare-ups. The soap will do the job with or without the heat, so use a water temperature that is soothing and comfortable for you.
- Hand sanitizers can be full of chemicals, and their high percentage of alcohol can be both drying and painful to already inflamed skin. There is no need to use hand sanitizers if you are near a sink with soap and running water. Soap is a fantastic disinfectant combined with thorough hand-washing.
- There is no evidence that soaps labeled as “anti-bacterial” work any better than regular soap Chemical agents in so-called “anti-bacterial” soaps can irritate skin. They add little if any extra protection, and some anti-bacterial agents used in soaps are even known carcinogens (especially triclosan). It’s okay to choose a gentle and natural soap product that works for your skin.
- If you have a skin condition on your hands, like eczema, TSW, or psoriasis, a good idea is to use cotton gloves underneath plastic gloves when you go out, or when you are concerned about contacting surfaces with your hands. That way you can just throw the plastic gloves away, rewash the cotton gloves, and not have to wash your hands as frequently.
- Stay at home! If you and your entire household are staying at home and aren’t exposed to new people, new animals, or new surfaces outside the house, your need for handwashing can be reduced. Washing before meals, after using the bathroom, and after receiving deliveries or mail can suffice.
Self-Care is Key!
There is no denying that most of us are under some kind of stress due to Covid-19, whether its fear for our health, financial pressures, family demands, or isolation. Stress dampens our immune system and also can trigger skin flare-ups in those with acne, psoriasis, TSW, and eczema.
The key in protecting yourself is putting self-care at the top of your priority list if you can. Eating well, sleeping soundly, relaxing, getting fresh air, connecting with loved ones by phone or video-chat, are important to your well-being right now.
It’s not unusual for skin issues to flare-up during stressful times like these. So, don’t put yourself or your skin on hold, even if it seems like everything else is. Please know that Amethyst Holistic Skin Solutions is here to support you and offers videoconference appointments that you can request online at www.amethystacu.com.
If you are concerned about how Covid-19 considerations impact your skin care or skin medication, contact us! We can provide an evaluation and safe herbal solutions for chronic skin conditions that reduce your symptoms and your need for other medication.
About The Author
Olivia Hsu Friedman, LAc, Dipl.OM, DACM, Cert. TCMDerm, is the owner of Amethyst Holistic Skin Solutions and treats Acne patients throughout the US in person and via video conferencing using only Chinese herbal medicine. Outside of the office, Olivia serves on the Advisory Board of LearnSkin, the Board of Directors of the American Society of Acupuncturists and is a faculty member of the Chicago Eczema Support Group sponsored by the National Eczema Association.