Woman with skin condition claims store hand sanitiser caused rash: ‘My hands were so painful I couldn’t even hold a pen’

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Nthabiseng Lithakong. (Photo: Supplied)
Nthabiseng Lithakong. (Photo: Supplied)

This local woman opened up about the reaction to her hands caused by store sanitiser.

According to Business Insider, dodgy hand sanitiser sprayed by SA stores can cause rashes and even hallucinations – which is something Nthabiseng Lithakong agrees with.

Speaking to YOU magazine, the Pretoria woman revealed that she suffers from contact dermatitis which Healthline describes as a condition in which the skin becomes inflamed after being in contact with a certain allergen.

Through the years Nthabiseng has been cautious about exposure to substances, especially sanitisers. “I usually purchase a particular brand to sanitise my hands and it’s never given me a problem,” she explained.

When the first coronavirus case was confirmed in March, her office started using sanitisers on everyone at work every hour or so, which is when she had her first reaction.

“Before leaving the office my hands started to itch . . . sleeping that night was a bit of a hassle because my hands were very itchy and when I woke up I had this rash all over my hands.”

When Nthabiseng returned to her office the next day she showed executives what happened.

The sanitiser brand was changed, she was placed on leave and upon returning to the office – because she’s an essential worker – she was advised to bring her own sanitiser. 

Nthabiseng's hand

Nthabiseng then visited the pharmacy, where she was given over-the-counter medication.

“At some point I couldn’t even hold a pen because my hands were so painful and I had blisters,” she recalled.

“I work on a computer 24/7 so you can imagine having to type all the time when my hands are literally refusing, it’s extremely painful and it itched a lot.”

Two weeks later, after using the medication and visiting stores with her own hand sanitiser on essential runs, the ulcerations and skin irritation began to subside.

However, since returning to work, Nthabiseng has briefly visited a nearby store, forgetting to take along her own hand sanitiser.

“The security guards at the front entrance said they’d get into trouble if they didn’t sanitise my hands,” she recalled.

She also spoke to a store manager and showed them that her hands were recovering, but the store insisted on spraying her hands.

“The manager comes, I show him my hands and I tell him that my hands are recovering from a previous irritation and if I spray with sanitiser they’re going to act up really bad again,” she said.

Nthabiseng's hand

“I was not in the store for five minutes, I purchased what I needed and headed back to the office.” 

Fast forward to a couple of hours later and Nthabiseng’s hands started itching again, which she believes was a result of the sanitiser from the store.

“My hands were healing but because there was already open lacerations and ulcerations the sanitiser made it worse,” she explained.

“When I returned to the pharmacy again the pharmacist said she wouldn’t be able to help me and that I needed to see a doctor because my hands are having a bad reaction to the sanitisers.”

For Nthabiseng performing daily tasks like washing the dishes or washing her hands as one of the precautions for Covid-19, has become unbearable.

“Washing my hands lately has really become difficult,” she explained.

Nthabiseng's hand

“Just one thing that’s really causing more irritation is that I have to wash my hands frequently, taking a shower and washing the dishes,” she added.

 “My hands are actually so painful . . . I’ve even got blisters and the more I scratch the more they pop.

“I still wash my hands using a mild soap and I moisturise with Epimax Aqueous cream just to alleviate the pain,” she said.

Sources: Business Insider, Healthline

*Covid-19 is keeping many of us indoors. Our shopping trips have become brief, normal activities have been halted. Many have been wondering if they’ll still get their copy of their favourite YOU magazine. And how will we find things to do while indoors?

Though YOU magazine is available in most grocery stores, you can also subscribe online with no fuss. Click here to purchase a digital copy.

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