Hand hygiene compliance and irritant dermatitis: a juxtaposition of healthcare issues.

Skin Sciences Program, Division of Pediatric Plastic Surgery, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH, 45229, U.S.A; Department of Surgery, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH, 45267, U.S.A.
International journal of cosmetic science 06/2012; 34(5):402-15. DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-2494.2012.00733.x
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Reduction and prevention of health care-associated infections is a worldwide priority with emphasis on increasing hand hygiene compliance. Repetitive exposure to hand hygiene products and procedures is a significant factor in the development of occupational irritant hand dermatitis. Compliance has been difficult to achieve often due to skin irritation. The introduction of alcohol hand rubs has positively influenced compliance but rates remain lower than required. Genetic and environmental factors to the frequency and severity of irritant contact dermatitis have been identified. Because of the skin's role in innate immunity, maintenance of epidermal integrity is a key strategy for reducing health care-associated infections. In this review, we examine the interdependence of the two issues and the challenges of simultaneously accomplishing both goals. We emphasize research conducted among healthcare workers in their clinical settings. The factors that influence skin integrity and the challenges in meeting both goals simultaneously are explored. Cosmetic scientists have played key roles in the development of improved skin care products, and the issues present an excellent opportunity for them to provide potentially life-saving contributions to health care.

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