HealthDay News — More than 90% of health care workers and two-thirds of the general population currently have hand dermatitis, according to a study presented at the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology Spring Symposium, held virtually from May 6 to 7.

Monisha Madhumita and Ramesh Bhat, MBBS, MD, from the Father Muller Medical College in Mangalore, India, conducted a study among 291 health care workers and 291 healthy individuals from the general population to examine transepidermal water loss (TEWL), measured using a noninvasive, closed chamber system in a standardized environmental setting, and the presence of hand dermatitis.

The researchers found that the prevalence of hand dermatitis was 92.6% and 68.7% among health care workers and controls, respectively, based on symptoms and clinical examination. Mean TEWL was higher for women, for intensivists, and in association with alcohol-based hand rub and frequency of handwashing (more than 5 times/day). Based on medical history and self-reported history, about 3% of health care workers and 2.4% of controls had a prior history of hand dermatitis. Overall, 99% of hand dermatitis cases were of an irritant nature; 6.8% used emollients. Skin irritation and dryness were the main challenges to the consistent practice of hand hygiene among health care workers (72.1%), while among controls, the main challenges were skin irritation and dryness and high cost (50.8% and 36%, respectively).

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“This research truly demonstrates the impact of increased handwashing and uptake of alcohol-based rubs on the hand skin health of health care professionals and the general public,” Madhumita said in a statement.

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