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Risk factors for work-related eczema and urticaria among vocational students of agriculture.

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Dr Sandipan Dhar    20 January 2018

Farmers are at high risk of occupational skin diseases which may commence during vocational training.

The aim of a new study published in the Annals of Agricultural and Environmental Medicine was to identify the risk factors for work-related skin diseases among vocational students of agriculture.

This study included 440 students, of which 245 were males and 195 were females in the age-group of 17-21 years, from 11 vocational schools.

Among the study participants, 29 were diagnosed with work-related dermatoses, which included: eczema in 22; urticaria in 14; and co-existence of both in 7 students. Notable risk factors for work-related eczema were history of respiratory allergy, history of eczema (itchy rash) provoked by wet work and detergents before entering the school, history of contact dermatitis to metals, rubber or cosmetics prior to inscription, and family history of any skin disease. Whereas, significant risk factors for work-related urticaria were: history of allergic rhinitis and asthma prior to inscription, positive skin prick tests to work place allergens and to environmental allergens, and positive Phadiatop test.

From the findings, it was inferred that work-related skin diseases are common among vocational students of agriculture. Atopy, past history of asthma, allergic rhinitis, and eczema are relevant risk factors for work-related eczema and urticaria in young farmers, along with family history of any skin disease. Further, positive skin prick tests appear to be relevant, especially in the case of urticaria. Hence, was suggested that simple, aimed questions during health check-ups prior to enrolment of students into agricultural schools would help in identifying students at risk for work-related eczema and urticaria.

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