Training needed on dermatitis risks

Health workers need to be better educated about the dangers of dermatitis and the risk it poses for the growth of bacteria on the skin, say latest recommendations from the NHS Plus-funded Occupational Health Clinical Effectiveness Unit (OHCEU).

A review of research evidence focusing mainly on healthcare workers, found that bacteria and other micro-organisms are more likely to be present on skin that is affected by dermatitis than on normal skin, so clinicians need to advise healthcare workers with dermatitis of the risks, which are higher with more acute and more severe lesions, it said.

While the evidence on the risk of transmitting bacteria and infections from dermatitis on a worker’s hands to patients in a healthcare setting is more limited, clinicians should consider advising adjustments to work or redeployment for healthcare staff with severe or acute dermatitis, it added.

OH professionals need to advise staff with dermatitis to use moisturising creams at work, alcohol rubs as a substitute for full hand washing and, when working in healthcare, to seek early treatment to minimise symptoms and allow them to continue in their usual job, it suggested.

Dr Sian Williams, clinical director of the OHCEU, said: “The guideline shows that the provision of skin care programmes by employers can help dermatitis to heal.”

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