With the current situation concerning the COVID-19 pandemic and the increased frequency of washing hands or using hand sanitizer, cleaning and disinfecting, the constant use of PPE by healthcare professionals (HCP), as well as the requirement by local governments to wear masks when in the public, there is a potential risk of skin irritation from use of such products. The WHO has long established the importance of frequently washing hands and use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers in preventing the spread of disease as well as limiting touching of the face. (1, 2) An increase of HCP experiencing damage to the skin of the face and hands has been associated with the increased use of masks, goggles, gloves, and soaps. (3, 4) This increase in irritation, especially to the face, may also increase facial touching. (5)
Products that irritate the skin have had an effect on HCP adherence to hand hygiene guidelines in the past highlighting the importance of providing HCP with non-irritating products or procedures to mitigate skin irritation so that adherence can be maintained. (6, 7) While the world plans to loosen quarantine restrictions, local governments and federal organizations are recommending to wash/sanitize hands frequently and use masks when social distancing cannot be maintained in public places (2, 8). The potential issue with skin irritation may soon become a factor with the general population which could have a deleterious effect on adherence to those guidelines as well.
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