Working in a Hospital, Chafing as a Nurse
Posted by Jack Miller on 20th Oct 2022
Nurses are a tough bunch. They work hard, often dealing with difficult patients and long hours on their feet running around. And there's one thing that can really ruin their day: chafing. Chafing rash is a common problem for nurses, and it can be really painful. Keep reading to find out what causes chafing, how to prevent it, and how to treat it if it does occur. Stay safe and comfortable out there, nurses!
What is chafing?
Chafing is a condition that results when the skin rubs against something else, causing irritation, redness, and pain. It can occur anywhere on the body, but it's especially common in areas where the skin is thinner or more sensitive, like the inner thighs, armpits, and nipples. Chafing can also happen when clothing rubs against the skin, which is why it's such a problem for nurses who have to wear scrubs all day.
What are the symptoms of chafing?
The main symptom of chafing is, not surprisingly, pain. The affected area will feel raw and sore, and it may be red and inflamed. In severe cases, blisters can form.
What causes chafing in nursing?
There are a few different things that can cause chafing.
One is simply friction, like when your thighs rub together while you're walking. This can be made worse by sweat, which can make the skin more sensitive and prone to irritation. And nurses can sweat a lot as they race around at work.
Another common cause of chafing is tight clothing, like scrubs that are too small or clothing that's too tight in the waist or crotch area.
Where are nurses likely to experience chafing?
As we mentioned, chafing can occur anywhere on the body. But some areas are more susceptible than others. Common problem areas for nurses include the inner thighs, under their breasts and their armpits.
How can nurses treat chafing?
If you do start to experience chafing, there are a few things you can do to treat it. The first is to take a break from whatever activity you're doing that's causing the problem. This will give your skin a chance to recover. As nurses, this is not an ideal solution as they can't simply stop working.
The next best thing is to treat the affected area with a soothing topical ointment, like aloe vera. This will help soothe the pain and protect the skin from further irritation.
If the rash is severe, you may also need to use a steroidal cream as a chafing treatment to treat the affected area.
How can nurses prevent chafing?
Nurses always say prevention is better than cure! So, take preventative measures to avoid chafing in the first place.
Avoid tight-fitting scrubs or uniform
First, make sure you're wearing clothing that fits well and isn't too tight. This is especially important in the summer when you may be sweating more.
You can also try using high-quality antiperspirant deodorant. Whilst this helps reduce chafing or irritation from sweat, it won't stop the friction from clothes or skin rubbing on skin that leads to chafing.
Invest in anti-chafing clothing
There are now speciality anti-chafing clothing items available that prevent skin-on-skin rubbing. They fit discretely underneath scrubs and nursing uniforms for ultimate comfort.
Nurses work hard for the comfort of others, usually to the point they ignore their own discomfort. This doesn't have to be the case. Use the preventative measures above and avoid chafing at work!