Department of Dermatology and Allergy, University Hospital, Ludwig Maximilian University (LMU), Munich, Germany
Dr. Phillip Frost Department of Dermatology & Cutaneous Surgery, University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine, USA
These authors contributed equally
Background: Since the outbreak of SARS-CoV-2, authorities have preached the importance of personal hygiene, including hand washing and disinfection. Objective: To evaluate changes in the frequency of hand washing and hand care, the onset of hand eczema (HE) and risk factors associated with HE since the outbreak of SARS-CoV-2 in Munich in January 2020. Materials & Methods: All dermatologic outpatients at the university hospital between April 6 and April 19 were asked to complete a structured questionnaire. Results: Data of 512 patients with a median age of 49 years (243 females, 267 males) were analysed. The frequency of hand washing and hand disinfection increased after the outbreak of SARS-CoV-2 (p < 0.001, respectively). While symptoms associated with HE were reported by 29.9% (149/499) of patients, the actual diagnosis of HE was reported less frequently by 11.2% (53/473) with a median duration of 120 days. Frequent hand disinfection (p = 0.039), atopic dermatitis (p = 0.006) and young age (p = 0.0499) were identified as risk factors for symptoms of HE. Hand care was performed more frequently during the pandemic than before (p < 0.001). A high frequency of hand care during the pandemic was not significantly associated with symptoms of HE (p = 0.172), but was associated with self-recognition of HE symptoms (p = 0.002). Conclusion: After the outbreak of SARS-CoV-2, the frequency of hand hygiene measures increased. A considerably high prevalence of HE symptoms was associated with frequent hand disinfection, atopic dermatitis and young age. Awareness of HE should be raised in order for preventive measures to be taken earlier.