Hand eczema and occupational contact allergies in healthcare workers with a focus on rubber additives.Contact Dermatitis 2018; 79(3):149-156CD
Hand eczema (HE) in healthcare workers (HCWs) is common. Besides wet work, healthcare work also implies exposure to contact allergens.
To assess HE and contact allergy related to occupational exposures in HCWs.
In a cross-sectional study, 311 HCWs with HE within the preceding 12 months and a control group of 114 HCWs without HE were investigated with the baseline series and a special patch test series based on substances found in the gloves, soaps, alcoholic hand disinfectants and hand creams provided at the hospitals.
Contact allergy to rubber additives was significantly more common in HCWs with HE (6%) than in HCWs without HE (1%, P = .02). The corresponding percentages for fragrances were 11% and 3%, respectively (P = .004). Occupational HE was found in 193 of 311 (62%) HCWs. Of these, 22 of 193 (11%) had occupational allergic contact dermatitis, including 17 with glove-related rubber contact allergy. Contact allergy to diphenylguanidine was as common as contact allergy to thiurams. Occupational contact allergy to rubber additives was significantly associated with sick-leave related to HE.
Contact allergy to rubber additives in medical gloves is the most common cause of occupational allergic contact dermatitis in HCWs. Aimed patch testing with relevant rubber additives is mandatory when HE in HCWs is investigated.