Game Plan : Coronavirus & Allergic Contact Dermatitis

IMG_2237It’s Game Plan time. I’m guessing most of you already have a fairly good idea of what your game plan looks like by now, but for those still struggling, I thought I would share a few of my ideas about how I’m handling my allergic contact dermatitis with all the washing, cleaning and Covid-19 sanitizing that’s being done right now.

The good news: most of us are required to stay at home so any exposure to our allergens is actually limited and of our own doing. The exception to this is those of us in essential jobs – healthcare workers and those stocking our shelves at the grocery among others. A huge heartfelt thank you to those frontline workers. If you’re in these roles, the amount of exposure to allergens could be real trouble for you in the current landscape. I hope you find some of my tips helpful to you during this time.

On a side note, the canvas we’re living in currently is changing daily. While most of these recommendations are purely suggestions, they mostly are things that you could do anytime you’re experiencing a flare. Obviously, please check with your local health department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for updates as COVID-19 concerns continually change.

📝 Make a Game Plan for Covid-19 sanitizing

  • Designate one person to be your Essentials Errand-Runner
  • Set up a disinfecting station – could be in your garage or a room just inside your house that others are not allowed in. Here you can change clothes, disinfect packaged food etc.

📝 When you’re out

  • Avoid anyone else and stay at least 6 feet away from others
  • Use an allergen-free wipe (an EPA approved Covid killer hypochlorous acid cleaner like CleanSmart and a paper towel work great!) to clean the handles of carts while shopping
  • Wear a cloth mask and possibly allergen-free gloves such as Ansell Micro-Touch NitraFree Gloves
  • Use a credit/debit card only as cash could carry the virus

📝 Disinfect when you get home

  • Immediately upon arrival home, wash your hands with allergen-free soap such as Free & Clear Liquid Hand Soap and water for 20 seconds
  • Take all of the items you purchased to the disinfecting station for Covid-19 sanitizing
  • If you brought home take-out boxes, remove food to a new container
  • If you purchased groceries, take them all out of the bags, including produce
  • Use your safe allergen-free disinfectant spray – I use EPA Approved Force of Nature (read more about Force of Nature here and here) Hypochlorous Acid cleaner – the same as the above-mentioned CleanSmart Hypochlorous Acid cleaner, but one you can make in your own home) and thoroughly spray down all of your groceries. If you have cardboard, another option is to leave them in a disinfecting area for several days and let the virus die. Let your groceries sit for 10 minutes. (check the label of your EPA approved disinfectant spray for the appropriate time to kill viruses)
  • Once you’ve waited 10 minutes, I recommend putting gloves back on and wiping down all groceries.

My last bit of advice is to be cautious with hand sanitizers. Not only can they be drying and damaging to normal hands, those us with Allergic Contact Dermatitis – well it can start a whole slew of disasters. Check the labels of any hand sanitizer you desire to use for Covid-19 sanitizing. If it contains fragrance or any of your confirmed allergies, skip it. Hypochlorous Acid cleaners are EPA Approved to kill 99%+ of viruses including Covid. They will not dry your hands and dry to simple saline therefore super safe for you and your entire family.

Knowledge Bit: What is Hypochlorous Acid HOCl? When salt water is electrolyzed, it produces an anolyte solution that consists of >99.3% water, chloride salt, and Hypochlorous Acid (HOCl). HOCl is a naturally occurring chemical that is produced by our neutrophils, or white blood cells, to fight bacteria and inflammation after an infection or trauma. Hypochlorous acid is a weak acid that forms when chlorine dissolves in water, and partially dissociates, forming hypochlorite, ClO−. HClO and ClO− are oxidizers and the primary disinfection agents of chlorine solutions. HClO cannot be isolated from these solutions due to rapid equilibration with its precursor. Sodium hypochlorite and calcium hypochlorite, are bleaches, deodorants, and disinfectants. Hypochlorous Acid is made from salt and water.

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Check in… How are you doing?

It’s the question of the week (month, year… decade??), How are you doing? Life in our house has taken a drastic twist in the last few weeks as it has for most of our country right now. For me, my responsibilities as a wife and mom have really taken a swing in the overdrive position. My husband, who is a financial advisor, has been required to move his office home – ironically into my home office. My four kids have been home now for three weeks and are home for school at least until May 1, but in my heart of hearts – I know it’s probably for the rest of the school year.

My oldest kiddo is a senior this year. There’s been a huge outcry in our communities for these high school seniors. My son seems to be handling the situation very well though. He seems pretty happy and content with his current. Could be he understands the severity of the situation – could be he’s just a resilient guy. I’m proud of him and his attitude toward it all. His younger brother is a freshman in high school this year and together they’ve had the most FANTASTIC year being at the same school – the first time they’ve been together since they were in 2nd and 5th grades. My oldest has a car and has been driving them daily, an experience I know they’ve both loved. We’ve had other incredible experiences this year like my oldest coaching my freshman’s rec league basketball team filled with buddies. It’s been one of my favorite years parenting these two and I’m choosing to remember it as the BEST YEAR EVER instead of the year that was stollen from me.

My younger two kids are ages 9 and 6, 3rd and 1st grade. They’ve also been incredibly resilient recently. I’m keeping them on a tight schedule and I think it’s really helping them (and me) handle this new change in our lives. My little one is just learning to read… do you remember when your kiddos reading brain turned on and they began to soar? Well that’s where she is. We started Reading Buddies with her Grandmother a few weeks ago. A really special time for them both. Technology really is incredible.

I’ve also personally been experiencing the most relaxed schedule of my adult life. Having all of my family in one place without sports and school schedules running me in every direction, it’s pretty fantastic. I’m also choosing JOY in this moment. How about you? I’d love to hear how you’re handling your new set of circumstances.

My Garage Work Out Area

One thing I’ve begun to do for myself is to get up a few hours before my family does. My regular schedule is to get my family out the door and then do my routine of working out, household chores, work etc. However this new normal has really taken a toll on my normal day-to-day. I have been getting up before (or trying to, my little kids love mornings and get up super early) my kids and getting a work out in. It’s really helped me to set my intentions for the day and to keep my stress levels down. Last summer we purchased a gym set up for our 3rd bay in our garage. We made the purchase mostly for our teenage boys to work out, but I am incredibly thankful for this small haven recently. It’s the perfect area for me to go each morning that’s quiet and all mine! Most importantly, this is a space I can keep free of my allergens. I’m sure many of you have experienced having to leave your gym or shared workout space due to perfumes or other chemicals being used or sprayed in the area. I’ve even had to leave my Barre mat class because they used Thieves spray to disinfect the mats. I immediately knew it would be trouble for me and had to leave. Incredibly sad and irritating. But in this space, it’s all mine and I know I’m safe here!

Working Out Feeds the Soul!

You may have seen me post frequently about my Force of Nature cleaner. It’s something I’ve been using to clean my gym area as well. When I’m finished with my workout, it’s a quick spray down of the entire area and then I know when the boys do their workout later (teens – let’s be real… it’s MUCH later in the day!) the area will be clean and sanitized for them. Force of Nature is a device that electrifies a mixture of water, vinegar and salt. The electricity changes the chemistry bonds of the molecules and turns it into an EPA-Approved disinfectant of  Hypochlorous Acid and Sodium Hydroxide. For me it’s the ONLY cleaner I’ve found that I can use in literally the whole house and doesn’t bother my allergies. I’ve been using it for about 8 months and the fact that it is also an EPA approved disinfectant for COVID-19 – it’s like icing on the cake. I’ve been using it to spray down my house every single night. All the door handles, bathrooms, faucets etc. We’re spraying our groceries down with it, using it as a hand sanitizer as well. The absolute best part is that after you invest in the device, the bottles come out to about 7 cents to make. SCORE! I highly recommend it! You can head to the Force of Nature website to learn more about their amazing product. I’m so thankful for it!

Force of Nature

My Tiny Helper LOVES Using Force of Nature

In other news, for the past 2 months I’ve had several constant reactions related to my allergic contact dermatitis. I’ve really struggled trying to pinpoint the source of reaction. My routine is incredibly clean of my allergens so when this happens it always sends me into a tailspin. What did I get into? Where have I been? Ironically for most of us, any outside exposures have come to a screeching halt and it has really given a time for pause and reflection on what could be causing any reaction. My current reactions are around my left eye, on the outside. It’s a typical eyelid dermatitis for me although I haven’t seen it like this in YEARS. I’ve been pulling apart my personal care product routine – about every 7 days pulling one product out of my routine to see if/when the reaction stops. I think I might have hit the jackpot with a “safe-for-me” hyaluronic acid serum. It leads me to point that some manufacturers are still learning how to disclose FULL PRODUCT LISTS. This product isn’t from a contact-allergy-friendly company and possibly something slipped in that they didn’t disclose. I’ve been using this product safely for about 4 months – each bottle lasting me 30 days. It’s crazy how few regulations exist for this scenario. Some companies are self-regulating this and are fully disclosing their ingredient/sources, something that is really necessary for us friends. Other companies are NOT doing that. I wanted to tell you about my reaction so you know if you’re still struggling to figure your reactions out, know you are not alone. It’s a constant battle. The one thing that helps though is to keep your routine as clean as possible. I see many folks who have confirmed fragrance allergy continue to use some fragrances they feel “don’t bother” them. It is such a slippery slope friends and the only way to success (and not accumulating more allergies) is to keep your routine CLEAN from any allergen. Do yourself a FAVOR and eliminate them all now.

My Naughty Eyelid Dermatitis

 

 

Keep plugging along friends. We’re definitely not in this alone. I’m so thankful for you!

 

 

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