To explore the relationship between wearing protective masks and goggles and skin injuries in medical staff during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Researchers conducted a cross-sectional, multicenter online survey. Respondents voluntarily completed the questionnaire on their smartphones. Ordinal and multinomial logistic regressions were used to identify factors related to skin injuries.
In total, 1,611 respondents wore protective masks combined with goggles in 145 hospitals in China; 1,281 skin injuries were reported (overall prevalence, 79.5%). Multiple concomitant skin injuries (68.5%) and injuries in four anatomic locations (24.0%) were the most common, followed by injuries in three (22.8%), two (21.7%), and one location (11.0%). Multinomial logistic regression indicated that sweating increased the risk of injuries in one to four anatomic locations (95% confidence interval for odds ratio 16.23-60.02 for one location and 38.22-239.04 for four locations), and wearing an N95 mask combined with goggles and a daily use longer than 4 hours increased the risk of injuries in four locations (95% confidence interval for odds ratio 1.18–5.31 and 1.14–3.93, respectively).
The prevalence of skin injuries among medical staff wearing protective masks combined with goggles was very high. These were mainly device-related pressure injuries, moisture-associated skin damage, and skin tears. The combination of various factors resulted in skin injuries at multiple sites. Preventing and managing sweating should be a focus for medical staff who wear protective masks combined with goggles for more than 4 hours.