Constant hand washing and sanitizing has taken an unexpected toll on our hands

A new survey conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Muse Health finds that most people are washing their hands 10 times a day. (Photo by Burst from Pexels)

With mask-wearing and social distancing at the top of everyone’s minds, the pandemic has taken a surprising toll on a somewhat unexpected place: Americans’ hands.

According to new research, the average American has washed their hands 10 times per day since the pandemic began, and sanitized them an additional eight times.

A new census-balanced survey of 2,000 Americans revealed more than half (51%) said their digits are feeling drier, and nearly three in 10 reported hands that are flaky from increased hand-washing and sanitizing.

Over one in five (22%) even reported that their hands have bled as a result.

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Muse Health, the study also examined the new norms for cleaning hands after a variety of activities.

Fifty-seven percent of respondents reported that they only use hand sanitizer after touching common surfaces, such as door handles, turnstiles, car door handles and shopping carts.

Yet a full 22% said they’re using hand sanitizer after touching any surface or object — in public or not.

It’s perhaps unsurprising, then, that six in 10 admit to panicking when they leave home without hand sanitizer.

Forty-four percent of respondents said it’s even taken a toll on their relationship, agreeing that concerns about spreading germs have made them less likely to hold hands with their romantic partner.

“While it might feel like it’s become second-nature by now, continuing to be vigilant about keeping hands clean across a variety of contexts — from home to work to the grocery store and beyond — will be imperative to curtailing the pandemic this cold and flu season,” said Bruce Albert, Chief Science Officer of Muse Health.

It’s unsurprising that eight in 10 respondents agreed they are washing their hands more frequently this year than ever before.

Perhaps even less surprising is the admission of 64% of respondents that 2020 has turned them into “a bit of a germaphobe.”

About seven in 10 women reported that constant hand-washing and sanitizing has become second nature during the pandemic, and just over eight in 10 men said the same.

Guys were more also likely to report that their hands were drier as a result of the increased hand-washing.

Yet only 64% of all respondents said that they know which active and inactive ingredients to look for in a hand sanitizer to help prevent dryness.

“Staying protected is more important this cold and flu season than ever before, but many alcohol-based sanitizers can wreak havoc on your hands if you’re not careful,” added Albert.

“Looking for a sanitizer with moisturizing agents like vitamin E, lime oil or glycerin will help to protect your hands from getting extra dry and chapped during the winter season in which they’re already vulnerable to the effects of the colder weather.”

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