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Occupational allergy: respiratory hazards in healthcare workers

Wiszniewska, Marta; Walusiak-Skorupa, Jolanta

Current Opinion in Allergy and Clinical Immunology: April 2014 - Volume 14 - Issue 2 - p 113–118
doi: 10.1097/ACI.0000000000000039
OCCUPATIONAL DISEASE: Edited by Susan M. Tarlo and Piero Maestrelli

Purpose of review Allergens are one group of respiratory hazards in the workplace of healthcare workers (HCWs). The purpose of this review is to summarize the recent advances in occupational allergy as well as potential hazardous agents in HCWs.

Recent findings The review covers new developments on the epidemiology, diagnosis and management of occupational allergy in HCWs. This article also provides updated information on the prevalence of work-related respiratory symptoms, as well as on respiratory hazards among healthcare providers.

Summary It is established that HCWs are at risk of asthma symptoms. The growing use of cleaning products is one of the causes of occupational airway disease in that group. Among healthcare professionals, the prevalence of asthma varies depending on worksite. Recent findings indicate a need for education among HCWs concerning occupational risks. A lack of knowledge of product components as well as about exposure to cleaning/disinfecting agents has been demonstrated. Further studies are necessary to determine the relative role of individual agents versus complex workplace exposures in the development of work-related asthma in HCWs.

Department of Occupational Diseases and Clinical Toxicology, Nofer Institute of Occupational Medicine, Lodz, Poland

Correspondence to Marta Wiszniewska, MD, PhD, Department of Occupational Diseases and Clinical Toxicology, Nofer Institute of Occupational Medicine, 8 Teresy St., 91-348 Lodz, Poland. Tel: +48 42 631 47 76; fax: +48 42 631 47 64; e-mail: martaz@imp.lodz.pl

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