[3 min read] Half of health care workers have experienced dermatitis

Almost half of health care workers have experienced dermatitis, according to research by the Skin & Cancer Foundation Inc. A retrospective study of health care workers assessed in Australian dermatology clinics found that 49.7 per cent had experienced allergic contact dermatitis.

Suspected cases of dermatitis among health care workers were confirmed with patch testing, showing that the major substances causing occupational allergic contact dermatitis are rubber glove chemicals, preservatives, excipients in hand cleansers and antiseptics.

Health care workers, particularly dermatologists, frequently treat patients who have experienced skin reactions to allergens. The most common allergens are found in skin care products, fragrances, plants, jewellery, hair dyes, soaps, shampoos, baby wipes and gloves. Other allergens include nickel and bufexamac.

The preservative methylisothiazolinone/methylchloroisothiazolinone is used in a variety of skin care products and has recently caused a large number of allergic reactions in Australia.

The findings suggest that health professionals need to consider the likelihood of suffering an allergic reaction to substances touching their skin and take precautions to prevent contact.

Read more recent dermatology research.


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