Table of Contents
Journal of Allergy
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 681934, 7 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/681934
Research Article

Hypersensitivity and the Working Environment for Allergy Nurses in Sweden

1Department of Women’s and Children’s Health, Uppsala University, 751 85 Uppsala, Sweden
2Division of Woman, Child and Reproduction, Department of Pediatrics, Skåne University Hospital, 205 02 Lund, Sweden
3Occupational and Environmental Medicine, University and Regional Laboratories Region Skåne, 205 02 Lund, Sweden
4Department of Medical Sciences/Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Uppsala University, 751 85 Uppsala, Sweden

Received 19 November 2013; Revised 28 January 2014; Accepted 14 February 2014; Published 6 April 2014

Academic Editor: Ting Fan Leung

Copyright © 2014 Pia Kalm-Stephens et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Background. Allergy nurses are exposed to allergens and respiratory irritants, and there are no national guidelines addressing personnel safety when working with these agents. Objective. To investigate the prevalence of allergies, asthma, and hypersensitivity symptoms among allergy nurses and the use of protective equipment and measures when working with allergen concentrates and respiratory irritants. Methods. A questionnaire survey was performed among the members of the Swedish Association of Allergy Nurses. Results. Diagnosed asthma was reported by 17%, while 18% had allergy to pets, 28% had allergy to pollens, and 26% reported nasal symptoms. Fifty-one percent reported a history of asthma, allergic diseases, or hypersensitivity symptoms in their family. Exhaust ventilation was used by 24% during skin prick tests, 17% during allergen specific immunotherapy, and 33% when performing methacholine challenge tests. Tightly closed containers for disposable waste were used by 58% during skin prick tests, by 60% during immunotherapy, and by 40% during Pc provocation tests. Conclusion. Allergy nurses had a tendency to increased prevalence of lower respiratory symptoms, asthma, and allergic rhinitis and more than half of the nurses had a family history of asthma, allergic diseases, or hypersensitivity symptoms. Additional studies are needed to evaluate the validity of these results.