Hand hygiene compliance can cause dermatitis: 5 tips to avoid it

There has been a rise in dermatitis — inflammation, reddening and scaling of the skin — among healthcare workers, in part due to efforts to improve hand hygiene compliance, a recent study found.

Hand washing plays an important role in preventing healthcare-associated infections, so "more needs to be done to procure less irritating products and to implement practices to prevent and treat irritant contact dermatitis," said epidemiologist and lead researcher Jill Stocks, PhD.

A blog post from DebMed provided some tips for how healthcare workers can continue to follow hand hygiene best practices but limit skin irritation, highlighted below:

  • Use products that feature emollient ingredients
  • Encourage the use of alcohol-based hand rubs
  • Use foaming alcohol-based hand rubs, as they are less harsh on the skin
  • Limit use of soaps to when hands are visibly soiled or when treating patients who have a spore-forming bacteria
  • Consider using hand lotion after finishing a shift to rehydrate skin

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