<h4>Introduction</h4>The COVID-19 pandemic and the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) in the healthcare setting provide a unique opportunity to study PPE-associated headaches (PPEAH).<h4>Subjects and methods</h4>We conducted an online survey to assess the prevalence and clinical characteristics of PPEAH. The survey was voluntary, anonymous and addressed to medical and non-medical personnel. We used descriptive statistics and univariate and multivariate comparative analyses to identify factors associated with the development of PPEAH and its impact on work capacity.<h4>Results</h4>Out of 886 respondents, 88% (780) reported wearing PPE. Most of them were physicians (81%), 52.4% of whom were women. The prevalence of PPEAH was 65.5% (511/780) and 73.8% (377/511) were de novo headaches. PPEAH was acute, oppressive, bifrontal and of moderate intensity, and subsided with the removal of the PPE. Accompanying symptoms were common, and migraine and/or dysautonomic features were highly prevalent. Female sex, age > 40 years, use of PPE > 6 hours/day and the combination of an N95 mask and goggles were associated with the occurrence of PPEAH. There were factors associated with a negative impact on the ability to work because of the PPEAH.<h4>Discussion</h4>PPEAH may be a form of external compression headache (ECH); however, it has distinctive features that overlap with other primary and/or secondary headache disorders.<h4>Conclusions</h4>PPEAH is prevalent and impacts on work-related activities. One subgroup presents characteristics not previously described in ECH.
Rev Neurol (Revista de neurologia)
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