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The authors surveyed 542 first-line healthcare workers in Hubei province, China, for the frequency of skin damage and their personal protective equipment practices. The prevalence of skin damage among workers was 97% (n=526), with the most common sites including the nasal bridge (83.1%), cheeks (78.7%), hands (74.5%), and forehead (57.2%). Dryness/tightness was the most frequently reported symptom (70.3%) and desquamation the most frequently observed sign (61.6%). Wearing an N95 mask and/or goggles for more than 6 hours per day increased the risk of skin damage (HR, 2.02 and 2.32, respectively).
The prevalence of skin damage in first-line healthcare workers in the COVID-19 crisis is extremely high, particularly in areas subject to irritation including the nasal bridge under goggles or an N95 mask and the hands. This skin irritation could promote face touching, leading to increased risk of viral transmission.
– Margaret Hammond, MD
This abstract is available on the publisher's site.
Since the outbreak of coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) in December 2019, over 200,000 healthcare workers from all over China have been participating in the fight against this highly contagious disease in Hubei province, which is the infected center of China. The skin damages caused by enhanced infection-prevention measures among them, which could reduce their enthusiasm for overloaded work and make them anxious, have been reported frequently.