Abstract Number: 26

Occupational contact dermatitis among healthcareworkers: a retrospective review

C. Higgins, A. Palmer, R. Nixon

Meeting: 2015 Dermcoll

Session Information

Date: -

Session Title: Contact Dermatitis Symposium

Session Time: -

Occupational contact dermatitis (OCD) is the most prevalent
occupational disease in many industrialised countries.
Healthcare workers and nurses in particular are exposed to
many substances that can cause allergic contact dermatitis
(ACD) or irritant contact dermatitis (ICD). We reviewed 400
nurses with a diagnosis of OCD over the period 1993 to
2013. The most important diagnoses were ACD (47.5%) and
ICD (83.3%). Latex allergy causing occupational contact
urticaria was also relatively common. Hands were the most
commonly affected site. Occupational ICD was mainly
caused by water/wet work, detergents/soaps and by environmental
irritants such as heat from contact with warm
water, and sweating from occlusive gloves. Each of these
may disrupt the protective lipid layer and in some cases
facilitate the development of allergy. The major substances
causing ACD were rubber glove chemicals, antiseptics, preservatives
and hand wash components. Several commonly
used brands of hospital hand washes contained contact
allergens. Fortunately, there were few allergic reactions to
alcohol rubs.
OCD presents a significant burden of disease for affected
Australian healthcare workers. Our data highlight the
need for national guidelines for the prevention, identification
and management of healthcare-related occupational
dermatoses, such as those recently published in the United
Kingdom.