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worried about hepitits- Hands are raw and I fear risk of infection
Oct 9, 2004

Hi,

I wash my hands many times a day and have done so for many many years. Unfortunately, this has caused them to be red, sore, dry, and after such a long time, the skin has seemed to become loose and raw. My skin has the appearance of an old wrinkly woman's even though I am only 25. It is so sensitive that when I go to wash them, it hurts. I see and feel fine openings in my skin.

My family which I live with are not the most sanitary or open-minded persons in the world. For one example, one person doesn't always wash his hands after he uses the restroom for either urinating or having a bowel movement. This person had also been a drug-user for over 10 years and had sex with who-knows-who. Another person is promiscuous and hasn't always used protection when having sex. This person has been with many, many, many people. These 2 people are my main concern about being infected with some sort of disease. Since my skin is open I am afraid to touch anything they touch. I am aware that hepatitis B can stay alive outside of the body for about a week and in some web sites report up to 10 days. I am afraid of blood, fecal or any infectious body fluid contamination. I believe that razors in my household are being shared. I personally do not share them but other members do and I am concerned that this may spread infection. Furthermore, what bothers me is my family's unwillingness to hear anything about it. I think they think I'm nuts. Seriously nuts. And I am very afraid to confront them. I have before, but they do not listen to me and get very angry with me. This is not my house, so what say do I have? In the meanwhile, I am paranoid and angry. Do you have any suggestions? Do you think is a reason to get a hepatitis vaccination?

Response from Dr. McGovern

There are several things you can do to alleviate some of your concerns: 1. I would see a dermatologist since you may have a condition called dishydrotic eczema which can lead to severe chaffing of hands. This can improve greatly with topical treatments. Treatment could then eliminate all the cuts on your hands. 2. You could talk to your physician about getting hepatitis A and hepatitis B vaccines which are very protective.

Dr. McGovern



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