Dermatitis is an inflammation of the skin. The term dermatitis is synonymous with eczema. The skin becomes red, itchy, and can be blistered. The skin becomes hard, thickened and cracked. Many people suffer from skin conditions. Most of these are not work related. In some instances these started during childhood. Dermatitis is the main work- related skin disease.
An important clue for diagnosis is the site of the area affected. If it is the hands, contact dermatitis should always be suspected. The next question is whether the ‘contact’ arises from work or outside work.
A work related cause is suggested if:
- The rash is mainly on the hands and exposed skin
- The condition improves away from work and relapses on return
- More than one person is affected in same work area or handling same materials
The following suggest a non occupational cause:
- there is a history of childhood/ endogenous eczema
- there is major involvement of the body trunk or covered area of skin