Occupational dermatoses among front-line health care workers
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High rates of occupational dermatoses related to hand hygiene and personal protective equipment (PPE) have been reported during the COVID-19 pandemic. Based on the increased need for PPE and hand hygiene, researchers suspected occupational dermatoses to be a common problem among US health care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The aim of the survey was to better understand the burden and impact of occupational dermatoses among health care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, including missed work, sleep disturbance, and modification of PPE due to related skin symptoms.

Cross-sectional data were obtained via a secure anonymous electronic questionnaire administered to health care workers between May 2-10,2020. Participants included physicians, nurses, and other allied health professionals. This survey assessed new and existing skin problems reported by participants.

Of the 390 participating health care workers, 341 were women, the mean (standard deviation) age was 39.5 (12.1) years. Of the 235 participants who reported an existing skin condition before the start of the pandemic, 145 experienced worsening of their skin condition. Nearly all participants reported developing new skin symptoms since the start of the pandemic (372) and new skin problems after the use of PPE (353).

The majority of participants reported modifying PPE to prevent or alleviate skin problems (254), and many were concerned that the modifications may have interfered with PPE effectiveness (96). Two participants reported missing work due to skin symptoms since the pandemic began. Many participants reported experiencing sleep disruption (63); anxiety, annoyance, or frustration (275); and embarrassment, shame, or isolation (101) associated with their new or worsening skin problems. Some participants reported new or worsening nail biting (63), and some participants reported new or worsening skin picking (140).

This study provides insight into the skin problems faced by health care workers in the setting of increased PPE use, increased hand hygiene, and the stress of working during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The findings show that many front-line health care workers reported new or worsening skin problems since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, that health care workers attributed skin problems to the use of PPE, and that health care workers modified PPE to alleviate skin problems.

Source: https://www.jaad.org/article/S0190-9622(20)32617-7/fulltext
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