Occupational Dermatoses in Healthcare Workers during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Narrative Review
Keywords:COVID-19, Dermatitis, Occupational, Health Personnel, Pandemics, Personal Protective Equipment/adverse effects, SARS-CoV-2, Skin Diseases/etiology
Introduction: On the 11th March 2020, the World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus outbreak as a pandemic. Preventive measures such as the appropriate use of personal protective equipment and proper hand hygiene are essential in decreasing transmissibility. Healthcare workers have been required to wear personal protective equipment and to wash their hands even more frequently. These preventive measures are associated with an increased risk of skin conditions, namely, contact dermatitis and exacerbation of pre-existing skin lesions such as acne and seborrheic dermatitis. The aim of this article is to provide an overview of the main skin lesions, and highlighting the role in occupational dermatology and preventive measures.
Methods: A search was conducted on PubMed and some guidelines from organizations like World Health Organization and Portuguese General Directorate of Health were included.
Results: Most skin conditions seen in healthcare professionals throughout the pandemic were associated with hand hygiene and the use of personal protective equipment and comprised hand eczema, mask-induced contact dermatitis, personal protective equipment related irritant contact dermatitis, cheilitis and exacerbation of pre-existing conditions such as acne and seborrheic dermatitis. Prevention and early recognition of dermatitis associated with personal protective equipment and hand hygiene are essential to maximize work performance, healthcare workers’ safety and the adherence to preventive measures.
Conclusion: Protection of healthcare workers’ health and safety is an essential measure in the fight against the pandemic. Occupational Health has a fundamental role, acting in terms of disease prevention and health promotion, for example, through educational sessions and orientation of skin conditions associated with work, thus maximizing workers’ well-being.
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