Wet work exposure and hand eczema among healthcare workers: a cross-sectional study.Br J Dermatol 2018; 178(2):452-461BJ
Hand eczema is more common in healthcare workers than in the general population. Hands are subject to changing occupational exposures as a result of mandatory hygiene regulations for healthcare workers.
To describe exposure to hygiene procedures and investigate the associations between occupational hand washing, use of nonsterile gloves and hand disinfectant, and self-reported hand eczema.
This was a cross-sectional study; an electronic questionnaire was distributed to 28 762 hospital employees in southern Sweden. Nurses, assistant nurses or physicians constituted the group of healthcare workers analysed. Adjustments were made for sex, age, wet work at home, lifestyle factors and atopic dermatitis.
In total, 12 288 (43%) responded, including 9051 healthcare workers. In this group the 1-year prevalence of self-reported hand eczema was 21%. On a daily basis, 30% reported hand washing with soap > 20 times at work, 45% used hand disinfectants > 50 times and 54% wore nonsterile gloves for > 2 h. After adjustment for confounding factors, a dose-dependent association with self-reported hand eczema was found for the daily number of hand washes with soap at work and time working with disposable gloves but not for alcoholic disinfectant use. Hand washing outside work was not associated with self-reported hand eczema in the adjusted multivariate analysis.
In this study, we found a higher 1-year prevalence of self-reported hand eczema among Swedish healthcare workers than reported in the general population. Hand washing with soap and use of disposable gloves were associated with the occurrence of self-reported hand eczema in a dose-dependent way. Use of hand disinfectant was not associated with self-reported hand eczema.