The personal protective equipment (PPE) that medical professionals wear while treating COVID-19 patients —masks, goggles, face shields, and protective gowns — causes skin injury. In the process, it puts them at increased risk of infection, according to a new study by a large team of Chinese researchers, and published in Advances in Wound Care, a monthly from Mary Ann Liebert publishers.
The study covered 4,308 medical staff from 161 hospitals, with responses from 4,306 valid. The medical staff worked daily for 8 to 12 hours wearing PPE. Among them, 42.8% experienced serious skin injury related to use of PPE, the study found. Flagging the increased risk of infection, the researchers wrote: “The skin injuries among medical staff are serious, with insufficient prevention and treatment.”
The researchers identified three main types of PPE-related skin injuries: device-related pressure injuries; moist associated skin damage; skin tear. Several factors increased the risk for skin injury, including gender (see chart).
(Sources: Mary Ann Liebert publishers; Advances in Wound Care)
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