The challenge of irritant contact dermatitis for healthcare workers

It is well known that wearing gloves can provide a false sense of security when it comes to infection prevention.

Also necessary is a disciplined handwashing regimen that will remove as many transient microorganisms as possible from hands, nails and forearms. However, washing your hands so thoroughly and frequently with bactericidal soap leads to the breakdown of the skin’s natural barriers, leaving them dry and sensitised to allergens and irritants.

So, no longer is it sufficient merely to follow the trend away from powdered and natural rubber latex gloves that contribute to allergic contact dermatitis; we now need to reduce the risk of non-allergic or irritant contact dermatitis (ICD) among glove wearers.

In the British Journal of Dermatology, Stocks SJ, et al. wrote:

A reduction in healthcare associated infections following a nationwide campaign promoting frequent hand washing coincided with a simultaneous increase in contact dermatitis in healthcare workers.

As awareness of this occupation-related concern has increased, manufacturers responded by offering more accelerator-free glove options. Today, it’s not unusual for healthcare staff, dental practitioners, beauticians and hairdressers who have developed the symptoms of ICD (dry crusty skin, papules or small hard bumps, blisters) to request these products.

ICD among surgical staff

One subset of healthcare workers are more susceptible than others to this occupational sensitisation pattern: surgeons and operating-room staff. Following an incredibly rigorous handwashing regimen, they spend at least two or three minutes cleaning each finger to an acceptable level, using scrub brushes and disinfecting agents, such as glutaraldehyde. And with surgeries sometimes lasting multiple hours, their risk of developing ICD is further increased.

Among our surgicial gloves range, we now offer a product to combat the specific problems presented by non-allergic contact dermatitis in a sterile workplace:

Finessis have introduced a sterile surgical glove called Zero®. As the name suggests, these so-called ‘clean’ gloves are not only accelerator-free but also contain no measurable residual chemicals. This is because their manufacture material, Flexylon™, is custom-engineered to meet the highest requirements, setting new records compared to other sterile gloves in terms of high performance liquid chromatography and acceptable quality level tests.

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Finessis Zero’s features are as follows:

  • Zero chemicals – undetectable chemical residue tested as per high performance liquid chromatography method
  • Flexylon cast film, AQL < 0.10
  • Ultra low flexural stress
  • Superior barrier integrity for prolonged usage
  • High electrical resistance
  • Consistent grip in all conditions

Finally then, surgeons have a glove choice that eliminates the risks of Type I and Type IV hypersensitivity; a choice that will adequately protect their most precious operating tool: their hands.

If you would like samples of Zero®, or other Finessis products, please contact our Sales Team, your HPC Healthline Area Sales Manager, or visit our stand at the ESCD 2016 conference in Manchester.

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