Prevalence of Adverse Events in Healthcare Professionals Using Personal Protective Equipment to Treat COVID-19: A Web-based Survey
Dr. K Priya Gayathri,
Postgraduate Student, Department of Pharmacology, Sri Ramachandra Institue of Higher Education and Research, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India.
Introduction: Healthcare Professionals (HCPs) involved in managing Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic were instructed to wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to protect themselves from contracting virus. However, PPE use can sometimes lead to adverse events which create greater impact on health status of HCPs. Thus, the prevalence of adverse events and associated risk factors should be estimated for taking necessary preventive measures.
Aim: To evaluate the prevalence of adverse events in HCPs due to PPE use during second wave of COVID-19 in Tamil Nadu, India.
Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted in different levels of healthcare centres in Tamil Nadu, India, from April to May 2021. Data were collected using a pre-validated questionnaire from HCPs of any discipline who were directly involved in managing COVID-19 patients. A total of 282 responses were collected through Google forms and proportion of HCPs who experienced adverse events due to PPE and percentage of different adverse events associated with PPE wearing were assessed. Data were analysed using Chi-square test.
Results: Out of 282 respondents of the survey included 224 doctors, 34 nurses and 24 lab technicians with a mean age of 30 years. There were 164 females and 118 males. A total of 177 (62.76%) participants experienced adverse events which included dehydration, thirst and heat, headaches, inability to go to restroom and other urinary/respiratory problems. With respect to duration of exposure to PPE, 163 (57.8%) HCPs had >6 hours/day and 102 (36.2%) had 4-6 hours/day. It was observed that factors such as age, gender, profession, various wards posted for COVID-19 duty and duration of PPE worn daily were significantly associated with adverse events to PPE (p-value<0.05).
Conclusion: The results of the study concluded that higher prevalence of adverse events with PPE was seen among doctors and nurses. Most common encountered adverse events were dehydration, headache and skin problems, which have been associated with prolonged use of PPE.