Published: 2021-08-27

Adverse effects of prolonged use of personal protective equipment among health care workers during COVID-19 pandemic

Subhash Chand, Neeraj Sharma, Sanjay Kumar


Background: To know adverse effects of prolonged use of (PPE) personal protective equipment among various categories of health care providers while taking care of COVID-19 patients.

Methods: This study include health care workers involved in care of covid-19 positive patients admitted in COVID dedicated hospital. A preformed questionnaire based performa was distributed among health care providers. Questions were framed about various possible adverse effects of use of PPE. Duration of study was six month from first July 2020 to 31 December 2020. The data was obtained from questionnaire and thereafter analysed to determine the adverse effects of different parts of PPE among various categories of HCPs depending on their age, sex and duration of exposure.

Results: A total of 150 health care workers of various categories were surveyed. Maximum numbers of health care workers were in the age group of 31-40 years. Most common side effects were itching, rash, suffocation and impaired cognition. N-95 masks, gloves and face shield when used caused maximum discomfort.

Conclusions: COVID-19 is ongoing pandemic with uncertinity about its end. Health care workers are continuously exposed to COVID-19 positive patients and almost all the healthcare providers experienced discomfort while using PPE causing reduced work efficiency.


Personal protective equipment, health care workers, N- 95 masks, Gloves, Face shield

Full Text:



Karia R, Gupta I, Khandait H, Yandav A. Covid-19 and its modes of transmission. SN Compr Clin Med. 2020;2(10):1798-801.

Foo C, Anthony TJ, Yung HL, Chee-Leok G. Adverse skin reactions to personal protective equipment against severe acute respiratory syndrome-a descriptive study in Singapore. Contact Dermat. 2006;55:291-4

Approved N95 particulate filtering facepiece respirstors: Ancillary respirator information. Available at: topics/ respirators/disp_part/n95list1.html. Accessed on 20 May 2021.

Johnson AT. Respiratory masks protect health but impact performance: A review. J Bio l Eng. 2016;10:4.

Wu YC, Chen CS, Chan YJ. The outbreak of COVID-19: an overview. J Chin Med Assoc 2020;83:217-20.

Foo CC, Goon ATJ, Leow YH. Adverse skin reactions to personal protective equipment against severe acute respiratory equipment-a descriptive study in Singapore. Contact Dermat. 2006;55:291-4.

Lim EC, Seet RC, Lee KH. Headache and the N-95 masks amongst health care workers. Acta Neurol Scan. 2006;113:199-202.

Spaner D, Dolovich J, Tario S. Hypersenstivity to natural latex. J Allerg Clin Immunol. 1989;83:1135-7.

Valsecchi R, Leghissa P, Cortinovis R, Cologni L, Pomesano A. Contact urticaria from latex in healthcare workers. Dermatol. 2000;201:127-31.

Weido AJ, Sim TC, The burgeoning problem of latex sensitivity Surgical gloves are only the beginning. Postgrad Med. 1995;98:173-4.