When Cleaning is a Painful Chore
Who really likes to clean? I'm definitely not the cleanest person.
I hate cleaning.
I hate straightening up.
I don't like the smell of cleaning products.
And when I do decide to clean, I pay for it, with atopic dermatitis flare-ups on my hands.
My doctor says "Make sure you wear gloves when you clean the dishes or do housework involving water!" and "Be sure to put cream on your hands after each washing!" like these are some kind of miracle cures. But I don't think he's in charge of cleaning his house. And if he is, he must not have two small children to constantly sop up messes after.
Kids will be...kids...
I walk around my house picking up plates and bowls that had crackers, Cheerios, or fruit in them, and the wild assortment of oops-how-long-has-that-sippy-cup-been-there?! I find toys too close to the toilet. Marker or crayon on every surface, next to those lovely ooooh-no-what-can-this-be sticky assortment of fingerprints. A wet paper towel or the ever-impressive microfiber cloth can do the trick, but when just using water is a problem for my skin, it adds a whole new dimension to my cleaning problem.
This can't be the way...
I've tried to use gloves when I do the dishes, but the gloves are smelly. I've tried to put the special cream or lotion on my hands after each time I wash them (after changing diapers, wiping a potty-training butt, or taking a kid out of the slimy highchair), but sometimes I forget or need to cut up an apple right away. What should I be doing then? Getting cream on the apple?!
But there MUST be a way!
Lately, for me, the atopic dermatitis on my hands has been a real struggle and trying to keep it at bay seems never-ending. And when you have small kids, you have a lot of other things to deal with and worry about besides some itchy spots on your skin. Sometimes it seems to be a battle I simply can't win and don't even care to worry about....until I'm sitting up at night scratching my hands until they're bleeding.
Finding the worst triggers and going from there
I'm trying to find my triggers. My dish soap doesn't seem to be that big of a problem unless I'm washing pots from a marathon of cooking. So I make a mental check mark. Ahhhh, but then I find the special dish soap that I use for sippy cups and bottles DOES irritate my skin IMMENSELY even if I just use a tiny squirt for the weird itty-bitty piece of the sippy cup that can't go in the dishwasher. I read over the label. It's got special ingredients to cut the fat from milk (it's meant to really clean baby bottles and sippy cups that get that gross old-milk smell from getting lost under the couch for a week). And what else might those special ingredients be cutting? All the helpful oils my skin makes to keep my skin-on-the-verge stay somewhat soft and not scaly. I decide if I'm washing baby stuff in the sink, it's either gloves on or make absolutely sure I use cream after cleaning.
I'm trying to do better to take care of my atopic dermatitis. I HAVE to care about my skin so that I can care for my kids (and clean up all their messes and fingerprints and wipe their boogie noses and......) and their skin too! But we'll save worrying about their skin for another day... I have enough to worry about for today...
Have you been diagnosed with atopic dermatitis?