Hand Care in COVID-19: Stay Safe & Injury Free

posted by Karin Hogge on Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Have you tried to perform an activity without the use of your hand?  It’s challenging!  Just ask someone who is currently unable to use their hand due to an injury, such as Greg Hertz. Greg accidently slipped on the ice in March of 2020.  In an effort to try to stay upright, Greg grabbed the garage door railing and ended up cutting his finger open and severing one of his flexor tendons. 

Greg underwent surgical repair for his flexor tendon at Spencer Hospital and currently is undergoing one-on-one specialized hand therapy with me, one of Spencer Hospital’s occupational therapists and a certified hand therapist.

April is Occupational Therapy month and “OT in the Age of the Coronavirus” is the theme this year as we all try to navigate our lives differently.   While elective services have been temporarily suspended at Spencer Hospital, follow-up therapy, such as the care Greg needs for his hand, is essential. We take extra measures to ensure that direct patient contact is only for necessary services so we can provide essential care that is needed.   The staff at Spencer Hospital utilize PPE (personal protective equipment) for protection for ourselves and our patients. 

As you are staying safe in your homes and tackling those home improvement projects, accidents may happen. Here are some tips we all can use to keep ourselves safe and injury free.

  1. Wear appropriately fitting gloves:  Poorly fitting gloves can become caught in machinery, which results in finger(s) getting pinched, crushed, or amputated.  Gloves protect the skin from cuts on rusted wire, dirty bushes/brush, provides a barrier for chemical & temperature burns, as well as protective from jewelry (rings/watches/bracelets) getting caught and causing damage to your fingers/hand.
  2. Inspect your tools/equipment:   Make sure your tools and equipment are in proper working condition before starting your yard and garden work this spring.  Don’t use handles that are cracked or broken, use the correct tool for the job, inspect your equipment before turning it on, and take the time to be safe instead of rushing to get the job done quickly.
  3. Be aware of your surroundings:  Don’t work around moving equipment, don’t put your hand in a machine with moving parts. The part may have stopped, but it may recoil and start moving when the jam is cleared and may potentially severely injure your hand or fingers. Use the safe guards on the equipment.  With so many children and adults home, make certain no one is around when you are moving equipment or vehicles.  Don’t assume everyone else is aware of what you are trying to accomplish or where you are going in the vehicle.

Until you or someone you know has suffered from an injury to your hand, you don’t realize the impact it has on your daily life, work life, and your family members.  Most of the hand injuries result in a temporary loss of function from days, weeks or months, however, some severe injuries result in permanent changes in the function of your hand.   Stay safe and injury free!

About The Author

Karin Hogge

Karin Hogge is one of Spencer Hospital's occupational therapists and is also a certified hand therapist and a certified lymphedema therapist.