One-third of surgeons and nurses experience harmful allergic skin reactions in OR

Sept. 24, 2020

A new global survey has revealed that surgeons and nurses are suffering from harmful allergic reactions in the operating room, including blisters and rashes, announced Molnlycke. 

The survey found that in the United States 31 percent of surgeons and nurses had personally experienced a skin reaction on their hands, and 21 percent said they had even been forced to change sterile gloves during an operation on a patient due to an irritating and distracting reaction. 

Shockingly, allergic skin reactions appear to be a widespread and common issue for many surgeons and nurses. Of those affected, more than 9 in 10 (96 percent) experienced an allergic skin reaction on multiple occasions and 21 percent have experienced skin reactions more than 10 times in their career.

Reactions included dry and itchy skin, rashes and blisters. Of those who had experienced a skin reaction, 30 percent said that it had a negative impact on their quality of life and work. 

The survey also found: 

·         32percent of surgeons suffered an allergic reaction in the operating room at least once a year.

·         46 percent respondents had experienced a reaction in the last six months, while 60 percent had suffered a reaction in the past year.

 ·          71 percent reported that they or a colleague had been distracted from their work due to a skin reaction to surgical gloves.

·          87 percent of those who experienced a reaction were diagnosed with contact or allergic dermatitis, which is a response caused by contact with a substance. 

The survey was conducted by SERMO for Mölnlycke, which has recently developed Biogel PI UltraTouch S gloves, a new range of skin-friendly gloves manufactured without chemical accelerators known to cause allergic contact dermatitis. 

Rose Gallagher MBE, Professional Lead Infection Prevention and Control at Royal College of Nursing, commented: “Wearing the right gloves and gloves only when required, as well as proper hand washing and moisturizing with emollients, is vital to protecting the hands. If we don’t look after our hands, we may not be able to look after our patients and ultimately risk long-term damage to our hands, which in some cases can result in life-long damage.” 

Commenting on the survey findings, John Timmons, Clinical Staff Nurse and International Medical Director, said: “This landmark survey demonstrates another unacceptable risk that surgeons and nurses are having to face when helping patients in hospitals around the world. With health systems across the globe under immense pressure to meet the demands of the coronavirus pandemic, healthcare professionals should not have to deal with blisters, rashes and itchy skin while trying to perform operations.” 

“Mölnlycke’s purpose is to advance performance in healthcare across the world, and we aspire to equip everybody in healthcare with solutions to achieve the best outcomes. Recognizing the high levels of allergic contact dermatitis which surgeons and nurses face, we have developed the Biogel PI UltraTouch S surgical glove range, which has been designed to minimize the risk of allergic contact dermatitis. It is vital that hospitals recognize and provide for the dermatological requirements of each and every healthcare professional in the operating room.” 

Molnlycke has the release.