Health and Wellness

Home > Occupational Health Clinic

Get in Touch with Us

Occupational Health Clinic
1211 21st Ave. South
Suite 640 Medical Arts Building
Nashville, TN 37212
615-936-0966 fax  


Hand Dermatitis in Healthcare Workers


Because healthcare workers must wash their hands frequently they sometimes get dry, cracked or red skin that can also be painful.

Some Causes of Hand Dermatitis:

  • Frequent, prolonged contact with water
  • Harsh soaps
  • Low humidity
  • Cold weather
  • History of childhood eczema

What can you do to decrease the risk of this condition?

  • Use lukewarm water to wash your hands – never hot
  • Use the least harsh soap available
    • Good brands are Basis and Dove for sensitive skin
    • Avoid soaps with fragrances or botanical oils
  • Limit time in the shower or tub to the minimum necessary
  • At work, use alcohol foam when hands are not visibly soiled – it is less drying than soap and water
  • Use a bland moisturizer frequently
  • Use non-latex gloves
  • Do not wear gloves longer than necessary – frequent glove changes allow your skin to breathe
  • If you wear gloves to handle chemicals or do wet work, use loose fitting rubber or vinyl gloves, with cotton liners if possible

Self-care tips to protect and treat your hands if they become irritated:

  1. At bedtime moisten hands with a washcloth.
  2. While skin is still moist, liberally apply a bland emollient (such as Aquaphor)
  3. Wear thin cotton gloves as needed to keep sheets clean
  4. Leave emollient cream on over-night
  5. Reapply emollient after washing or bathing
  6. Seek medical care if your symptoms do not improve

Additional information:

Hand Hygiene: Help Stop the Spread of Germs

Keywords: dermatitis, skin

Posted on Tuesday, September 27, 2011 in Keeping You Safe At Work, Occupational Health Clinic, Resource Articles and tagged , ,


Leave a Reply

We'll review your comment as soon as possible. If you have an immediate help request, please contact us at the following:
Vanderbilt Health & Wellness - 615-936-0961
Occupational Health Clinic - 615-936-0955
Work/Life Connections-EAP - 615-936-1327
Health Plus - 615-343-8943