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Nottingham dermatology experts are looking after the nation’s skin during pandemic

Thursday, 23 April 2020

Skin experts in the School of Medicine at the University of Nottingham have been working to provide expert advice and resources during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A team of experts in the Centre of Evidence Based Dermatology (CEBD) at the University, have set up the Coronavirus Dermatology Resource aimed at dermatology health professionals and patients.

The online international resource brings together a collection of guidelines, web resources and journal articles on coronavirus relevant to skin diseases and dermatology.

Professor of Dermato-Epidemiology, Hywel Williams, and Co-Director of the CEBD, said: “There are many implications of the coronavirus epidemic for dermatology. In particular the impact of wearing personal protective equipment such as gloves and masks that can irritate the skin, the fact that continuous hand washing and use of sanitisers can lead to irritant eczema breaking out on the hands, issues around patients on biologics and other immune-modulating drugs, some of the early reports of skin rashes associated with coronavirus and how dermatology services can continue to be delivered in the current environment.”

The journal articles in the online resource are found by a comprehensive search strategy with several hundred search terms which was compiled by information specialist Dr Douglas Grindlay from the CEBD, and will be updated regularly as new articles appear.

Professor of Dermato-Epidemiology, Hywel Williams, and Co-Director of the CEBD

“In the CEBD we know that many people, including healthcare professionals and care workers on the frontline, but also other essential workers such as supermarket staff, are experiencing skin problems due to constant handwashing and the effects of sweating under gloves,” adds Professor Williams.

“With this in mind, we have produced a video – ‘COVID-19 and handwashing advice’ which gives practical information on managing these issues, especially for people who have eczema and dry skin.”

The information provided by the team has since led to changes in advice from British Association of Dermatologists (BAD) and patient support groups.

At the request of the Chief Medical Officer’s office, Professor Williams also initiated a group of dermatology experts from the British Association of Dermatologists (BAD) to establish policy for people on immunosuppresive drugs.

The BAD group, led by Professor Nick Levell, Consultant Dermatologist at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and also an Honorary Professor at Norwich Medical School, has developed a detailed advice grid which is aligned to similar advice from other specialists using immunosuppressive medicine such as rheumatology and gastroenterology.

This information will be benefit both healthcare professionals and patients to help them make better decisions regarding isolation versus social distancing for those taking immunosuppressive medicines.

We have already had really positive feedback from dermatology health professionals who are using these resources to help them deal with planning their activities and hand care during the pandemic. We hope that our resources will continue to keep the nation’s hands and skin in top condition during this difficult time”
Professor Williams

Story credits

More information is available from Professor Hywel Williams  from the Centre of Evidence Based Dermatology at the University of Nottingham, at  hywel.williams@nottingham.ac.uk

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Notes to editors:

The University of Nottingham is a research-intensive university with a proud heritage. Studying at the University of Nottingham is a life-changing experience and we pride ourselves on unlocking the potential of our students. We have a pioneering spirit, expressed in the vision of our founder Sir Jesse Boot, which has seen us lead the way in establishing campuses in China and Malaysia - part of a globally connected network of education, research and industrial engagement. Ranked 103rd out of more than 1,000 institutions globally and 18th in the UK by the QS World University Rankings 2022, the University’s state-of-the-art facilities and inclusive and disability sport provision is reflected in its crowning as The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021 Sports University of the Year. We are ranked eighth for research power in the UK according to REF 2014. We have six beacons of research excellence helping to transform lives and change the world; we are also a major employer and industry partner - locally and globally. Alongside Nottingham Trent University, we lead the Universities for Nottingham initiative, a pioneering collaboration which brings together the combined strength and civic missions of Nottingham’s two world-class universities and is working with local communities and partners to aid recovery and renewal following the COVID-19 pandemic.

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