Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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How to Avoid Blisters from Yardening

Skin adapts to the current level of stress. If you spend the winter mostly indoors, your hands tend to get soft. Then when you start yardening in spring, it's easy to get blisters. Here is my method for coping with that ...

1) Wear sturdy work gloves to protect your hands. Wear tough work boots with thick socks, and make sure they fit properly, to protect your feet.

2) As you work, periodically check your hands for signs of friction. If your feet start to feel sore, pause and check them too. When you see pink spots starting to appear, stop working for the day.

3) Go inside and wash thoroughly with soft soap. This is NOT the time for Lava or any other scrubby soap. It will take your skin off.

4) Gently pat dry your hands/feet and apply lotion all over them.

5) Half an hour to an hour later, wash and dry your hands/feet again, then reapply the lotion.

6) If you're still seeing pink spots, dab them with first aid cream. It's okay if your skin feels a little warm and stingy for a few hours. If it hurts a lot or still hurts the next morning, you went too far. Wait until it stops hurting before you work again.

7) Keep up the cycle of periodically washing, drying, and moisturizing every few hours until the pink spots fade.

8) Repeat the same process of working just enough to identify the friction spots, then taking care of your hands/feet. After a week or so, the skin should thicken and you can work longer. A layer of callus forms from dead skin. You want to keep that. If you work to the point of blistering, the outer skin sloughs off and it takes longer to regrow new skin. You will get better results with less misery by moderating your workload from the beginning, than from pushing too fast and getting blisters that cost you work time.

If you go too far and the surface skin starts to separate, this same wash-dry-moisturize cycle will help keep the blisters from getting really bad, and it will encourage your skin to build up some protection. But you'll need to use first aid cream instead of the lotion, and you may need padding to protect the blisters while they heal. Do NOT keep working when you have blisters, because they can pop and get infected, which hurts a lot.

For more details on blister care, see:
"Blisters: Home Treatment"
"3 Ways to Treat a Blister"
"How to Treat Blisters on Your Hands"
"How to Treat a Foot Blister"
"9 Healing Home Cures for Blisters"

Feel free to share this around now that we're coming into the spring yardening season.  It is much easier to prevent blisters than to heal your skin after you have already rubbed big holes in it.
Tags: gardening, how to, safety

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