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Skin reactions due to surgical gloves lead to lost working hours, study finds

Nurses urged to protect their hands and wear gloves only when required

Nurses urged to protect their hands and wear gloves only when required

Nurses have been urged to protect their hands after a study found skin reactions due to wearing surgical gloves led to working hours being lost.

A survey conducted by Sermo, a forum for healthcare professionals , for medical device company Mlnlycke , was sent to 3,321 nurses in the UK, asking about skin reactions related to working in the operating theatre.

More than half of respondents took time off work due to skin problems

Rose Gallagher Picture: David Gee

Of the 100 nurses who responded, all said they had experienced dry, itchy skin or developed a rash, blisters or broken skin.

Nurses urged to protect their hands and wear gloves only when required

The gloves can cause conditions including dry, itchy or broken skin Picture: iStock
Picture: iStock

Nurses have been urged to protect their hands after a study found skin reactions due to wearing surgical gloves led to working hours being lost.

A survey conducted by Sermo, a forum for healthcare professionals, for medical device company Mölnlycke, was sent to 3,321 nurses in the UK, asking about skin reactions related to working in the operating theatre.

More than half of respondents took time off work due to skin problems

Rose Gallagher: If we don't look after our hands, we may not be able to look after our patients’ Picture: iStock
Rose Gallagher Picture: David Gee

Of the 100 nurses who responded, all said they had experienced dry, itchy skin or developed a rash, blisters or broken skin.

More than half (56) said they had to take time off work, ranging from less than an hour to more than four weeks, after developing a skin reaction from wearing surgical gloves. The most common amount of time taken off work was one to five days, reported by 13 nurses surveyed.

RCN professional lead for infection prevention and control Rose Gallagher said: ‘Wearing the right gloves and only when required, as well as proper hand washing and moisturising with emollients, is vital to protecting hands.

Risk of long-term damage

‘If we don’t look after our hands, we may not be able to look after our patients and ultimately risk long-term damage, which in some cases can result in life-long damage.’

Of the 42 nurses who saw a healthcare professional for their skin condition, 26 told the survey they were diagnosed with irritant contact dermatitis, while 16 were diagnosed with allergic contact diagnosis.


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