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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Prevalence, incidence and predictive factors for hand eczema in young adults – a follow-up study

Arne Johannisson1*, Ann Pontén23 and Åke Svensson45

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Health Sciences, Lund University, Box 157, 221 00 Lund, Sweden

2 Department of Occupational and Environmental Dermatology, Lund University, Malmö, Sweden

3 Department of Occupational and Environmental Dermatology, Malmö University Hospital, Malmö, Sweden

4 Department of Dermatology, Lund University, Malmö, Sweden

5 Department of Dermatology, Malmö University Hospital, Malmö, Sweden

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BMC Dermatology 2013, 13:14  doi:10.1186/1471-5945-13-14

Published: 29 October 2013

Abstract

Background

Hand eczema is common in the general population and affects women twice as often as men. It is also the most frequent occupational skin disease. The economic consequences are considerable for society and for the affected individuals.

Methods

To investigate the prevalence and incidence of hand eczema and to evaluate risk factors for development of hand eczema in young adults. Subjects and methods; This is a prospective follow-up study of 2,403 young adults, 16 – 19 years old in 1995 and aged 29 – 32 years, 13 years later, in 2008. They completed a postal questionnaire that included questions regarding one-year prevalence of hand eczema, childhood eczema, asthma, rhino-conjunctivitis and factors considered to affect hand eczema such as hand-washing, washing and cleaning, cooking, taking care of small children and usage of moisturisers. These factors were evaluated with the multinominal logistic regression analysis.

Results

The one-year prevalence of hand eczema was 15.8% (females 20.3% and males 10.0%, p < 0.001). The incidence was 11.6 cases per 1000 person-years (females 14.3 and males 5.2, p < 0.001). Childhood eczema was the most important risk factor for hand eczema. The odds ratios were 13.17 when having hand eczema 1995 and 2008 compared to 5.17 in 2008 (p < 0.001). A high frequency of hand washing was important in predicting hand eczema only when having 1-year prevalence 2008, OR 1.02 (p = 0.038).

Conclusions

After 13 years an increased 1-year prevalence of hand eczema was found. The significant risk factors for hand eczema changed over time from endogenous to exogenous factors.

Keywords:
Hand eczema; Childhood eczema; Prevalence; Incidence; Cohort; Gender; Skin care; Hand-wash