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[2 min read] Dermatitis among healthcare workers during COVID-19
As part of their everyday work, healthcare workers are exposed to hazards that put them at risk of infection. During the COVID-19 outbreak, more stringent handwashing and personal protective equipment (PPE) procedures have been adopted to prevent transmission of the virus. However, there is some evidence that these practices have had a negative impact on skin health.
Healthcare workers represent a high-risk group for developing occupational dermatitis. This in turn can have ongoing detrimental effects such as decreased compliance with adequate handwashing.
A recent study looked at the degree to which healthcare workers have been impacted by irritant contact dermatitis (ICD) as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Of 270 respondents to a survey, 51.7 per cent were nurses, 25.1 per cent doctors, 10.3 per cent allied health members, and 8.5 per cent healthcare assistants.
Of these respondents, 223 (82.6 per cent) reported signs of ICD.
Affected sites included the hands (in 75.47 per cent of respondents), nose (13.73 per cent), cheeks (12.55 per cent) and forehead.
The most frequently reported symptoms were dry skin (reported by 75.37 per cent of respondents), redness (36.94 per cent) and itching (27.61 per cent).
Virtually all (268 of 270 respondents) reported an increase in the frequency of handwashing, but nearly half said they had not used any topical treatments to treat their symptoms.
Around a quarter of those experiencing ICD symptoms had a history of dermatitis.
This study suggests that ICD among healthcare workers is emerging as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and that awareness of this issue is needed to provide appropriate preventing and timely treatment for healthcare workers internationally.
Learn more in the Professional Diploma program in General Dermatology.