Rates of Hand Eczema Among Health Care Workers Grew During COVID-19 Pandemic

The increasing prevalence of hand eczema among healthcare professionals working in COVID-19 units is due to increased hand hygiene habits.

As COVID-19 began to spread worldwide in 2020, the importance of proper hygiene and frequent hand washing was emphasized to curb infection rates. However, as a result of this increased emphasis on hand hygiene, dermatological conditions have become more common, especially among healthcare workers who wash their hands frequently.

According to a study published on the Internet, Journal of Education, Health and SportsHand eczema rates among healthcare workers have increased during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The prevalence of hand eczema among healthcare professionals working in COVID-19 units has increased and has been associated with increased hand hygiene habits,” the study authors wrote.

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With significantly greater attention being paid to hand hygiene, especially among healthcare workers, during the pandemic, the study’s authors sought to assess how certain hygiene products affect hand eczema rates. The study was conducted by the Military Medical Academy Memorial Teaching Hospital of Lodz Medical University in Poland.

“The purpose of the study was to examine the prevalence of hand eczema as a result of more intensive hand hygiene among healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic,” the study’s authors wrote.

Researchers searched databases such as PubMed and Google Scholar for keywords such as hand eczema, hand dermatitis, SARS-CoV-2, atopic dermatitis and COVID-19. Data shows that healthcare workers are increasingly developing hand eczema during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The study authors said the risk of hand eczema is higher during the pandemic due to factors such as widespread use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers, use of gloves, use of hand hygiene products, prior history of atopic dermatitis, and female gender. .

“The findings showed a positive association between the prevalence of hand eczema among healthcare professionals and the COVID-19 outbreak,” the study authors wrote.

The researchers noted that excessive hand hygiene practices erode the natural skin barrier function of the hand, causing hand eczema.

The study authors also noted that using protective skin care products may help reduce the risk of hand eczema. Products commonly used to prevent eczema, such as moisturizing creams; however, the study authors did not specify the details of which interventions worked best.

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The study authors concluded, “Hand washing and the use of disinfectants impair the natural skin barrier function, leading to allergic and irritating hand eczema.” “Appropriate prevention strategies and education should be implemented to continue practicing hand hygiene during the ongoing epidemic.”

Reference

SROCZYŃSKA, Monika, LUCHOWSKA, Anna & ŻACZEK, Alexandra. Prevalence of hand eczema among healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic – a systematic review. Journal of Education, Health and Sports [online]. 23 December 2022, T. 13, nr 2, p. 136–141. [accessed 4.1.2023]. DOI 10.12775/JEHS.2023.13.02.019.

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