Risk factors for work-related eczema and urticaria among vocational students of agriculture
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Department of Experimental Dermatology and Cosmetology, Jagiellonian University Medical College, Krakow, Poland
Institute of Rural Health, Lublin, Poland
University of Economics and Innovation, Lublin, Poland
Chair of Epidemiology and Population Studies, Jagiellonian University Medical College, Krakow, Poland
Corresponding author
Radosław Śpiewak   

Department of Experimental Dermatology and Cosmetology, Jagiellonian University Medical College, Krakow, Poland
Ann Agric Environ Med. 2017;24(4):716-721
Introduction and objective:
Farmers are at high risk of occupational skin diseases which may start already during vocational training. This study was aimed at identification of risk factors for work-related skin diseases among vocational students of agriculture.

Material and methods:
The study involved 440 students (245 males, 195 females aged 17–21 years) in 11 vocational schools which were at least 100 km from each other. The protocol included a physician-managed questionnaire and medical examination, skin prick tests, patch tests, total IgE and Phadiatop. Logistic regression model was used for the identification of relevant risk factors.

Work-related dermatoses were diagnosed in 29 study participants (6.6%, 95%CI: 4.3–8.9%): eczema in 22, urticaria in 14, and co-existence of both in 7 students. Significant risk factors for work-related eczema were: history of respiratory allergy (OR=10.10; p<0.001), history of eczema (itchy rash) provoked by wet work and detergents before entering the school (OR=5.85; p<0.001), as well as history of contact dermatitis to metals, rubber or cosmetics prior to inscription (OR=2.84; p=0.016), and family history of any skin disease (OR=2.99; p=0.013). Significant risk factors for work-related urticaria were: history of allergic rhinitis and asthma prior to inscription (OR=7.29; p=0.006), positive skin prick tests to work place allergens (OR=4.65; p=0.002) and to environmental allergens (OR=3.79; p=0.009), and positive Phadiatop test (OR=3.61; p=0.013).

Work-related skin diseases are common among vocational students of agriculture. Atopy, past history of asthma, allergic rhinitis, and eczema (either atopic, allergic or irritant) are relevant risk factors for work-related eczema and urticaria in young farmers, along with family history of any skin disease. Positive skin prick tests seem relevant, especially in the case of urticaria. Asking simple, aimed questions during health checks while enrolling students into agricultural schools would suffice to identify students at risk for work-related eczema and urticaria, giving them the chance for selecting a safer profession, and hopefully avoiding an occupational disease in the future.

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