Occupational dermatitis of cleaning staff

Cleaning staff are essential in most businesses to keep infrastructure and premises clean and healthy. However, exposure to many chemicals can lead to occupational dermatosis and even occupational disease.



Who is concerned by occupational eczema?

Occupational dermatoses of cleaning staff affect all types of cleaning agents, both through irritative (irritant dermatitis) and allergic (contact eczema) phenomena. Detergents, intended for cleaning, and disinfectants, used for decontamination, are both irritating and allergenic. Occupational dermatitis in surface technicians mainly affects the hands because they are on the front line when cleaning and/or disinfecting. Water and humidity are important contributing factors.

Allergic eczema is often the result of an allergy to a detergent, an allergy to a disinfectant, or more specifically an allergy to a chemical contained in the detergent or disinfectant. Any allergy tests that may subsequently be carried out make it possible to identify the causative agent and to implement measures to prevent further contact.

How does occupational eczema manifest itself?

Whether of irritative and/or allergic origin, occupational dermatoses of cleaning staff result in dry and damaged hands, or even red, swollen, itchy and uncomfortable eczema plaques. The urge to itch is sometimes very intense and difficult to control, but scratching maintains and aggravates the lesions.

Lesions tend to disappear during the vacations and reappear when returning to work, proof of their occupational origin.

How can you avoid occupational eczema?

Occupational dermatoses of cleaning staff can be prevented by systematically wearing gloves during the various cleaning and disinfection procedures, by avoiding leaving traces of water or moisture on the hands and by regularly applying an insulating barrier cream to the skin of the hands. After the working day, apply a soothing repair cream.

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