Primary and secondary prevention for occupational contact dermatitis is a challenge for the occupational physician: educational training and the avoidance of contact with irritant and allergic substances permits a reduction of incidence cases and days of work lost for a disease that is the third in frequency among workers in industrialized countries.Methods
Workers with a diagnosis of occupational hand dermatitis were invited to a training course on prevention of skin dermatitis, their skin condition were evaluated by a dermatologist/allergologist and by TEWL (trans-epidermal water loss) measurements. Information on skin disease, occupational and non-occupational exposure were recorded using a standardized questionnaire. Workers participated to a second control after 3 months, to verify the effectiveness of the training.Results
80 workers with an occupational hand dermatitis accepted to participate to a training course and 62 (77.5%) completed the 3 months follow-up. Symptoms improved after the training for the 73% of subjects that adhered to suggestions and followed recommendations and for the 38% of workers that partially followed recommendations (p<0.01). TEWL values improved at the end of follow-up, confirming the positive effect of protective measurements suggested on skin barrier function.Discussion
Our intervention was effective, leading to a reduction in clinical signs of dermatitis in people that strictly adhere to recommendations, mainly on cleaning habits and skin cream use. The educational intervention permitted to improve skin condition in a short-term follow-up. More efforts are needed to train workers on skin protection procedures.