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This survey-based study included responses from 114 healthcare workers (HCWs), 40 (35%) of whom worked in an ICU for COVID-19 patients. The remaining participants worked at a single surgical site not caring for patients with COVID-19. Compared with pre–COVID-19 outbreak, there was a significant increase in reported rates of hand washing (5–10x per day vs 10–20x per day) and hand disinfection (10–20x per day vs 20–30x per day) during the outbreak, with no difference between those caring for COVID-19 patients and those working in the surgical site. There was a high prevalence of reported symptoms of acute hand dermatitis, including dryness (83.2%), erythema (38.6%), itching (28.9%), burning (21.1%), and scaling (18.4%), whereas symptoms of chronic dermatitis such as fissures (9.6%) and pain (4.4%) were relatively low, suggesting that symptoms were a result of recent changes in hand hygiene measures. There was no significant difference between rates of symptoms between the two groups.
Although reported rates of hand cream application increased during this time as well, the difference was minimal (1x per day vs 1–2x per day). This study demonstrated that all HCWs, not just those dedicated to caring for patients with COVID-19, are susceptible to hand dermatitis due to increased hand hygiene measures.
– Caitlyn T. Reed, MD
This abstract is available on the publisher's site.
Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, hygiene regulations have been intensified and hand sanitation has gained special attention.
To investigate the onset of hand eczema during the COVID-19 pandemic in health care workers (HCWs) directly involved in intensive care of COVID-19 patients and HCWs without direct contact. Hereby, we aim at increasing awareness with regard to occupational hand eczema and preventive measures that can be undertaken.
A survey was distributed amongst 114 HCWs at a single surgical site and at a COVID-19 intensive care unit of the university hospital LMU Munich, Germany. Participants were questioned with regard to the daily frequency of hand hygiene prior to and during the pandemic. Participants self-reported onset of hand eczema and associated symptoms.
Our study revealed a significant increase of hand washing, disinfection and use of hand cream across all participants (P-value<.001), regardless of having direct contact with COVID-19 patients. A high prevalence of symptoms associated with acute hand dermatitis was found in 90.4% across all HCWs, whereas hand eczema itself was underreported (14.9%).
The increase of hand sanitation during the COVID-19 pandemic impairs the skin of the hands across all HCWs, independent of direct intensive care of affected patients. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.