Am J Infect Control. 2023 Dec;51(12):1384-1391. doi: 10.1016/j.ajic.2023.05.005. Epub 2023 May 12.
BACKGROUND: Heat strain and dehydration can affect an individual’s physical and mental performance. The purpose of this review was to examine the literature for the impact of heat strain on health care workers (HCWs) who care for patients with high-consequence infectious diseases (HCIDs) while wearing personal protective equipment (PPE), discuss the risks of impaired safety caused by heat strain and dehydration in HCID environments, identify attempts to combat PPE-related heat strain, recognize limitations, and provide suggestions for further research.
METHODS: A literature search was performed in PubMed or MEDLINE and Google Scholar. Authors screened abstracts for inclusion criteria and reviewed articles if the abstracts were considered to include information relevant to the aim.
RESULTS: The search terms yielded 30 articles that were sorted based on environment setting, physiological impact, and interventions.
DISCUSSION: The safety of the HCWs and patients can be enhanced through the development and usage of cooler, more comfortable PPE materials and ensembles to help slow the rate of dehydration and support the regulation of core body temperature.
CONCLUSIONS: Heat strain caused by wearing PPE is an occupational health concern for HCWs in the high-risk environment, that is, HCID care. Future studies are needed to develop innovative PPE ensembles that can reduce heat strain and improve well-being.