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VOLUME 25 , ISSUE 2 ( February, 2021 ) > List of Articles

Original Article

Health Problems and Skin Damages Caused by Personal Protective Equipment: Experience of Frontline Nurses Caring for Critical COVID-19 Patients in Intensive Care Units

Sinu Jose, Maneesha C Cyriac, Manju Dhandapani

Keywords : Adverse skin reactions, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Frontline nurses, Health problems, Personal protective equipment, PPE-related dermatitis

Citation Information : Jose S, Cyriac MC, Dhandapani M. Health Problems and Skin Damages Caused by Personal Protective Equipment: Experience of Frontline Nurses Caring for Critical COVID-19 Patients in Intensive Care Units. Indian J Crit Care Med 2021; 25 (2):134-139.

DOI: 10.5005/jp-journals-10071-23713

License: CC BY-NC 4.0

Published Online: 22-02-2021

Copyright Statement:  Copyright © 2021; Jaypee Brothers Medical Publishers (P) Ltd.


Abstract

Background: In the event of coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) spread worldwide, frontline healthcare workers play a key role in the containment of this devastating pandemic, and to prevent the cross-transmission and gain confidence in battle with the pandemic, they are wearing personal protective equipment (PPE). Aim and objective: To explore the adverse health problems and skin reactions caused by the use of PPEs among the frontline nurses in the ICUs of COVID hospital. Materials and methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted using an online-based questionnaire assessing the physical problems, and adverse skin reactions of PPEs were sent among the 150 frontline nurses in ICUs of COVID hospital. The collected data were analyzed using descriptive statistics. Results: We got 137 valid responses from frontline nurses, and the most common adverse health effects expressed by them were headache (73.4%), extreme sweating (59.6%), and difficulty in breathing (36.7%); 91.7% complained about the fogging of the goggle. Majority of frontline nurses expressed nasal bridge scarring (76.64%) and indentation and pain on the back of the ears (66.42%) as the adverse skin reactions after wearing N95 masks. The common skin problems identified due to double gloving of latex gloves were excessive skin soakage with sweat (70.07%) and skin chapping (19%). The protective clothing caused minimal adverse reactions, and excessive sweating (71.53%) was the most reported. Conclusion: The healthcare workers wearing PPE for a prolonged period show significant adverse effects, so appropriate strategies should be taken to prevent the adverse effects by designing effective PPEs and education of preventive measures among healthcare workers.


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