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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 26  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 140-150

Prevalence of physical and psychological impacts of wearing personal protective equipment on health care workers during COVID-19: A systematic review and meta-analysis

1 Faculty, College of Nursing, Bhopal Memorial Hospital and Research Centre, ICMR, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India
2 Faculty, College of Nursing, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Nagpur, Maharashtra, India
3 Department of Psychiatric Nursing, College of Nursing, Pt. B. D. Sharma University of Health Sciences, Rohtak, Haryana, India
4 Department of Medical Surgical Nursing, RD Memorial College of Nursing, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India

Correspondence Address:
Abin Varghese
Faculty, College of Nursing, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Nagpur - 441 108, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijoem.ijoem_32_22

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Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) among the frontline health care workers (HCWs). Even though PPE helps in preventing infection, it poses significant physical and psychological impacts at varying levels. Correspondingly, multiple independent studies have brought out the PPE-associated problems. However, there exists a lacuna on comprehensive information of global prevalence related to the same. Aim: To estimate the prevalence and risk factors of PPE among HCWs during COVID-19 across the globe. Design: Systematic review and meta-analysis. Method: The review was undertaken as per the protocol registered in PROSPERO CRD42021272216 following Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis(PRISMA) guidelines. Two independent reviewers have undertaken the search strategy, study selection, and methodological quality assessment. Discrepancies were addressed by the third reviewer. Heterogeneity was addressed through I2 statistics and forest plots generated by open meta-software. Results: A total of 16 articles conducted across 6 different countries among 10,182 HCWs were included in the review. The pooled prevalence of skin lesions, headache, sweating, breathing difficulty, vision difficulty, thirst/dry mouth, fatigue, and communication difficulty, anxiety, fear were 57 (47–66%), 51 (37–64%), 75 (56–90%), 44 (23–68%), 61 (21–94%), 54 (30–77%), 67 (58–76%), 74 (47–94%), 28 (24–33%), 14 (10–17%), respectively. Moreover, the various risk factors included are the use of PPE for >6 h and young females. In addition, the medical management of new-onset problems created an additional burden on the frontline health care personnel (HCP). Conclusion: The frontline HCWs encountered physical and psychological problems at varying levels as a result of wearing PPE which needs to be addressed to prevent the inadequate use of PPE leading to infections.


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