Prevalence of hand dermatitis among hospital nurses working in a tropical environment

Aust J Adv Nurs. 2005 Mar-May;22(3):28-32.


Background: Although hand dermatitis (HD) is a common occupational problem among hospital nurses, few epidemiological studies of this disease have been conducted in regional areas or tropical environments.

Aim: The aim of our investigation was, therefore, to investigate HD prevalence and correlates among nurses within a unique Australian setting.

Design: We recruited a cohort of 148 female nurses from a large tertiary hospital in north Queensland, Australia, and administered a previously validated, self-reporting HD questionnaire.

Results: The 12-month period prevalence ranged from 43.2% to 59.3%, with an overall group mean of 50.0%. There were no statistically significant differences in HD prevalence between the different hospital wards (p=0.4238). During multiple logistic regression, a history of allergic rash was shown to increase the HD risk 5.5-fold (odds ratio: 5.5, 95% CI: 1.9-19.2, p=0.0038). The risk of HD was also related to increased hand washing frequency (OR 5.8, 95% CI: 1.1-33.4, p=0.0402).

Conclusions: Overall, the occurrence of HD among Australian nurses was relatively consistent across the various hospital wards. Their 12-month period-prevalence of HD was, however, generally higher than previous reports from other countries.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Gloves, Surgical / statistics & numerical data
  • Hand Dermatoses / epidemiology*
  • Hand Disinfection
  • Humans
  • Latex Hypersensitivity / epidemiology
  • Logistic Models
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / statistics & numerical data*
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Prevalence
  • Queensland / epidemiology
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Tropical Climate*