Chapped Hands

By Lloyd Graff

My hands are wickedly chapped from washing them so often. So far, they are my biggest casualty of COVID-19. Does anybody out there have a cure–not for the virus, but for my raw palms and fingers?

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Until yesterday I did not know anybody who had contracted this virus. Unfortunately, a friend who is a doctor is now showing all of the symptoms congruent with COVID-19, but with the lag in testing results it is not confirmed. His doctor immediately prescribed hydroxychloroquine (the anti-malaria drug) and the antibiotic azithromycin for him, though the FDA has not approved the treatment.

Because President Trump praised its usage and Dr. Anthony Fauci, his chief medical consultant, cringed on national TV, these drugs have become a political issue.

Unfortunately, doctors are in a medical battlefield right now, without any thoroughly tested prescription remedy for this virus with so little history. Other than the pneumonia vaccine, which has a delayed effect, the anti-malaria drug and antibiotic is the primary approach currently available to augment a person’s natural immunity. To a layman, it seems absurd to argue over a treatment with a decent chance of working based on anecdotal evidence from France and New York City, and with few downsides.

Personally I think Rachel Maddow of MSNBC, who ridiculed the drug regimen because Trump touted it, would grab it if she came down with the virus.

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Lloyd’s chapped hands

Like so many people, I have self-quarantined for almost 2 weeks. Our machinery business is in hibernation for now. Our shop employees are on temporary furlough, while the office folks work from home.

A surprisingly large number of our clients are working, though automotive is dead for the moment. Truck and Ag equipment is deemed critical as are medical and military. Guns and ammo, a significant part of the turned parts world, are selling like gangbusters.

It is fascinating to watch the improvisation of entrepreneurs as their normal business shrinks. Restaurants have switched to takeout and delivery. Bartenders are repackaging fancy cocktails in Mason jars for takeout. My wife’s educational therapy practice has moved online, using Zoom with great success, and medicine is quickly becoming “telemedicine” with patients afraid to visit offices.

General Motors and Ford have been asked to quickly shift into making respirators. I understand a firm in California, which is already running at full capacity, has given GM its prints so they can take advantage of its massive supplier base to get up and running quickly.

A client of mine has offered to machine a respirator part on a 5-axis twin turret lathe that is currently made from a casting. The castings are not available so they would make it from an aluminum blank. They won’t make money on it, but it will fulfill a critical need for the country. It’s what we do in America.

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If I listen to a lot of cable news I get depressed, so I am limiting my intake. I vacillate between thinking COVID-19 is a world catastrophe of the first magnitude or a compressed influenza epidemic that we may be overreacting to. The flu kills 20 to 50,000 people every year in the United States. The bad thing about COVID-19 is its rapid spread without a vaccine. Unfortunately, New York City and Milan are being overwhelmed like Wuhan was in China.

But it is not the Black Plague that wiped out half of Europe’s population in the Middle Ages.

Will we be back to work by Easter like President Trump predicts? I doubt it. But I do think I will get to root for the Chicago Cubs yet this season.


How do you cure chapped hands?

What is your business doing during the pandemic?

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21 thoughts on “Chapped Hands

  1. rf

    lotion! I was washing my hands so much for the last couple of weeks that they were scabbing over…finally started using lotion after each wash, and they are back to normal.

    1. Susan Minerbi

      Lloyd, coat your hands with Vaseline at night and sleep in light gloves. That should give you some relief.

  2. Brian Beland

    Our shop makes and regrinds carbide cutting tools for industrial manufacturers., (winner of ANCA’s 2019 Tool of the Year Award)
    We are staying open as a supplier to critical infrastructure manufacturing businesses.
    We are hopeful that we will weather this storm ok but concerned that other mom and pop type service businesses will not. Lots of pain in our future, unfortunately.
    We must all do our best to look out for the vulnerable in our society.

  3. Michael R Bowser

    Try Aquaphor Advanced Therapy Healing Ointment – it looks and feels like vaselinebut does a really good job. Not cheap.
    A less expensive and less effective alternative is Target Calming Body Creme with oatmeal, which is an economy version of a brand name product.
    Chapped hands with many small cuts immersed in coolant is not a winning combination, FYI.

    Useful Youtube channels I follow concerning COVID-19 information are “Dr John Campbell” and “Medcram”.

    Stay healthy,

  4. Jim H

    Lloyd, my wife and I have had particularly good results with products from CereVe, available at most pharmacies and big box stores, and online. We also use Skin Crack Cream, sold by Duluth Trading Company in their stores and online. It has a soluble wax base that acts as a barrier cream that lasts a long time unless it is washed off. As jf suggests, reapplication after each washing is necessary with any product.

    1. Mindy Mikami

      I agree. Cerave… especially the thicker kind that comes in a tub works really well. A family member does clinical trials for this type of product, and he recommended this to me several years ago. When I use it religiously, it works (duh)!

    2. Rita Lambert

      I use the CeraVe, also. Daily Moisturizing Lotion – lightweight – for Normal to Dry Skin.

  5. ck

    RENEW Intensive Skin Therapy lotion from Melaleuca is excellent for chapped hands! I’ve also been told that anti-viral essential oils in a diffuser are helpful.against the flu, such as: cinnamon, clove, eucalyptus, lavender, peppermint, tea tree and rosemary oils. Melaleuca also sells these essential oils, including a blended oil called Vapor that is good for congestion.

  6. Greg Lindstrom

    Try bag balm on the hands. We have a local company that makes an unscented organic hand lotion that works well, too, as the additives make my hands worse than without.

    We do a lot of ag parts, so we’re still producing items, but just the owner and I are working.

  7. Mindy Mikami

    Mecklenburg County (where Okuma is located) has a stay-at-home order going into place tomorrow morning, but Okuma has been designated an “essential business.” Essential personnel are observing all protective measures recommended by the CDC to ensure the safety of our employees and customers. Non-essential staff are working remotely. We are also offering up the machines in our tech centers to be commissioned to make needed parts during this crisis. We will work with interested parties to put these machines to use in manufacturing medical supplies or other necessities.

  8. Jeff

    Over the years I heard great things about Corn Husker’s Lotion and bag balm, a product for cow’s udders, but have no experience with either.

  9. Aaron

    Most of the parts I make go to Food, Ag, and Logististics, so even though Michigan is shut down, I’m still working.

  10. David Pence

    Any type of Bag Balm or Udder Cream will work wonders. if needed apply to your clean hands and put on some gloves overnight.

  11. Lloyd Graff

    Thanks so much for your comments. Has anybody tried Boudreau’s Butt Paste. It really seems to work for baby’s tushes? We have some in the house for my grandson.

  12. Gary Lawton

    Trying some humor during these trying times…
    Spend the winter in FLA 🙂
    2-weeks took care of my chapped hands !

    Everyone be safe and spread your workforce out, stagger work hours.
    Clean, clean, clean !

    Hope we do get MLB back sometime this summer.


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