Protecting your skin from dermatitis

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Taking care of the skin on your hands is important for your health and that of your patients.

Signs and symptoms of irritant contact dermatitis include:

  • redness
  • irritation
  • cracks in skin.

Causes may include frequent exposure to any of the following:

  • detergents
  • disinfectant wipes
  • water and wet work.

Broken skin can harbour micro-organisms and become an infection risk to patients. It can also increase the risk of infection to nursing staff from blood borne viruses.

You can take the following steps to prevent work-related dermatitis on your hands:
  • follow hand hygiene procedures
  • wear gloves only when appropriate eg, when coming into contact with blood/body fluids or using cleaning chemicals
  • regular use of hand moisturisers (containing emollients) can help prevent skin damage by locking moisture inside the skin
  • act promptly if you notice your hands are getting red and sore and seek advice from occupational health or your GP.

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