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Hand Eczema in Healthcare Workers

Eczema on the hands is more common in healthcare workers than in the general population, as the hands of doctors, nurses and other medical staff are subject to increased washing and sterilisation as a result of mandatory hygiene regulations. Is there a way to curb the rate of hand eczema while maintaining workplace health standards?

A study looked at exposure to hygiene procedures and investigated the associations between occupational hand washing, use of non-sterile gloves and hand disinfectant, and self-reported hand eczema.

An electronic questionnaire was distributed to 28,762 hospital employees in Sweden. In total, 12,288 responded, including 9,051 healthcare workers. In this group, the one-year prevalence of self-reported hand eczema was 21 per cent. On a daily basis, 30 per cent reported hand washing with soap more than 20 times at work, 45 per cent used hand disinfectants more than 50 times, and 54 per cent wore non-sterile gloves for more than two hours.

A dose‐dependent association with hand eczema was found for the daily number of hand washes with soap at work and time working with disposable gloves but not for alcoholic disinfectant use. Hand washing outside work was not associated with self‐reported hand eczema.

In this study, researchers found a higher one-year prevalence of self-reported hand eczema among Swedish healthcare workers than reported in the general population. Hand washing with soap and use of disposable gloves were associated with the occurrence of hand eczema in a dose-dependent way. However, use of hand disinfectant was not associated with self‐reported hand eczema.

Read more about eczema.


Hamnerius, N. et al. (February 2018.) Wet work exposure and hand eczema among healthcare workers: a cross‐sectional study. British Journal of Dermatology.  Volume 178. Issue 2. Pages 452-461. DOI: doi.org/10.1111/bjd.15813

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