Protecting your hands

Looks like the weather is finally starting to break. As the warm weather approaches and you become inspired to clean up outside, it’s important to remember to protect your hands. I am Dr. James Lyles with Gordon Surgical Group  and then hand surgeon. I recently had a patient come into the office inquiring about strategies that he could use to protect his hand from re-injury. The year prior I treated a laceration that he sustained during outdoor spring cleanup. It required suture repair, a week of oral antibiotics, and multiple follow-up appointments.

The easiest way to safeguard yourself from injury is to use the right tool for the job. For example this patient’s injury was sustained while trying to drive a nail with his hand into a fence post. Ouch! Never use your hand to drive a nail, when a hammer is available. never use your hands to dig in the dirt, when there’s a shovel available. Never use your hands to break large branches when there’s saw available. The seemingly innocent activities can cause unintended injury.

There are many types of gloves available for purchase for general-purpose tasks. The most common and useful type of club available for outdoor tasks are simple cotton or cotton polyester loosefitting gloves. These guys are perfect for light tasks in warm or cool weather. Leather gloves offer slightly more protection and durability when using long handle other tools. They also offer improved grip and should be slightly tighter fitting but comfortable. Chemical resistant gardening gloves can protect your hands from oils, pesticides, herbicides and other common outdoor products which can be irritating to skin.

Finally if injuries are sustained you should immediately clean your hands with soap and water, dress your wounds, and seek medical attention. With anything less you risk significant pain, loss of function, and worsening infection. Fortunately, my patient healed well and returned to his spring cleanup and this year he is prepared with the knowledge of how to protect his hands.