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Extended use of personal protective equipment (PPE) has increased the frequency and severity of common dermatologic conditions in healthcare workers. Proper management of occupationally induced skin conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic is critical to minimize long-term consequences and promote compliance to safety measures. Herein, the authors provide practical tips for mitigating contact/irritant dermatitis, pressure-related skin injury, acneiform eruptions, and moisture-associated skin irritation due to PPE and frequent hand sanitizing.
For contact or irritant dermatitis due to masks, the authors recommend using alcohol-free barrier film wipes or thin foam dressings behind the ears and wearing N95 mask straps on the crown of the head to minimize contact with ears. To prevent and treat pressure-related facial skin injury, a thin hydrocolloid or foam dressing can be worn under surgical masks and an alcohol-free barrier wipe can be applied to areas of direct contact prior to wearing N95 masks. For those with skin damage, petroleum jelly (Vaseline) applied three to four times daily or hydrocolloid dressing applied to open wounds is recommended while not at work. To prevent acneiform eruptions and moisture-associated skin irritation, washing with noncomedogenic cleansers before and after work and taking breaks from the mask for 15 minutes every 2 hours are recommended. To mitigate irritant hand dermatitis and contact sensitization, emollients with either ceramides and/or petrolatum are encouraged, especially after washing hands.
– InYoung Kim, MD, PhD
This abstract is available on the publisher's site.
There have been an increasing number of reports of occupationally induced skin conditions in healthcare workers related to the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.1,2 The breadth and variety of different types of PPE, such as facemasks, gloves, and respiratory equipment, as well as the extended use beyond previous standards, have led to a spectrum of common dermatologic conditions including: contact/irritant dermatitis, pressure related skin injury, acneiform eruptions, and moisture associated skin irritation (Table 1).