Hand eczema in geriatric nurses in Germany – prevalence and risk factors

Authors

  • Christoph Skudlik,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Dermatology, Environmental Medicine, and Health Theory, University of Osnabrueck, Osnabrueck
      Dr med. Christoph Skudlik, PD
      Department of Dermatology
      Environmental Medicine, and Health Theory
      University of Osnabrueck
      Sedanstrasse 115
      D-49090 Osnabrueck
      Germany
      Tel: ++49 541 969 2357
      Fax: ++49 541 969 2445
      e-mail: cskudlik@uos.de
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  • Madeleine Dulon,

    1. Institution of Statutory Accident Insurance of the Health and Welfare Service, Hamburg, Germany
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  • Dana Wendeler,

    1. Institution of Statutory Accident Insurance of the Health and Welfare Service, Hamburg, Germany
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  • Swen M. John,

    1. Department of Dermatology, Environmental Medicine, and Health Theory, University of Osnabrueck, Osnabrueck
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  • Albert Nienhaus

    1. Institution of Statutory Accident Insurance of the Health and Welfare Service, Hamburg, Germany
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  • Conflicts of interest: The authors have declared no conflicts.

Dr med. Christoph Skudlik, PD
Department of Dermatology
Environmental Medicine, and Health Theory
University of Osnabrueck
Sedanstrasse 115
D-49090 Osnabrueck
Germany
Tel: ++49 541 969 2357
Fax: ++49 541 969 2445
e-mail: cskudlik@uos.de

Abstract

Background and objectives:  The aim of this cross-sectional study was to collect data on the prevalence of hand eczema and relevant risk factors in geriatric nurses in Germany.

Methods:  1375 geriatric nurses from 86 nursing homes were investigated by 41 occupational physicians.

Results:  Hand eczema was diagnosed in 243 nurses, corresponding to a point prevalence of 18% [95% confidence interval (CI) 16–20%]. In most cases (71%), the skin changes were only mild. Two thirds of the geriatric nurses who reported skin changes stated that they had developed hand eczema after starting this profession. In most cases (85%), the clinical course was described as chronic. Risk factors associated with hand eczema were a lifelong tendency for dry skin [odds ratios (OR) 2.76; 95% CI 2.02–3.76] and a history of allergic rhinoconjunctivitis (OR 1.50; 95% CI 1.03–2.18). There was no association between the amount of wet work and hand eczema (OR 1.18; 95% CI 0.76–1.86).

Conclusions:  Our study indicates that it is necessary to provide geriatric nurses with specific skin care advice as part of their training. This might help to identify trainees at increased risk of developing eczema, encouraging the initiation of appropriate skin protection measures, thus preventing chronic disease.

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