Background: In the event of COVID-19 spread world-wide, frontline health care workers play a key role in the containment of this devastating pandemic, to prevent the cross-transmission and gaining confidence in battle with the pandemic, they are wearing personal protective equipment.
Purpose: The present study explores the adverse health problems and skin reactions caused by the use of PPEs among the frontline nurses in the ICUs of COVID hospital.
Methodology: A cross-sectional study was conducted using an online-based questionnaire assessing the physical problems and adverse skin reactions of PPEs were sent among the 150 frontline nurses in ICUs of COVID hospital. The collected data were analyzed using descriptive statistics.
Results: We got 137 valid responses from frontline nurses and the most common adverse health effects expressed by them were headache (73.4%), extreme sweating (59.6%), and difficulty in breathing (36.7%), 91.7% complained about the fogging of the goggle. Majority of frontline nurses expressed nasal bridge scarring (76.64%) and indentation and pain on back of the ears (66.42%) as the adverse skin reactions after wearing N95 masks. The common skin problems identified due to double gloving of latex gloves were excessive skin soakage with sweat (70.07%) and skin chapping (19%). The protective clothing caused minimal adverse reactions, excessive sweating (71.53%) was the most reported. Conclusion: The health care workers wearing PPE for a prolonged period shown significant adverse effects, so appropriate strategies should take to prevent the adverse effects by designing effective PPEs and education of preventive measures among health care workers.
Keywords: Personal protective equipment, PPE, Frontline nurses, Corona virus, COVID-19, Adverse skin reactions, PPE related dermatitis, Health problems