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Work-related asthma among health care workers, 1993-1997.

Pechter-E; Davis-LK; Tumpowsky-C; Flattery-J; Harrison-R; Reinisch-F; Reilly-MJ; Rosenman-KD; Schill-DP; Valiante-D; Filios-M
SENSOR Occup Lung Dis Bull 2005 Mar; :1-2
This issue of the Occupational Lung Disease Bulletin provides a summary of a recently published article about work-related asthma among health care workers. Remember to report suspected and confirmed cases of occupational asthma to the Occupational Health Surveillance Program by phone, fax or mail. Case reporting is mandated by public health regulations, and allows us to identify hazardous exposures in Massachusetts and plan informed prevention strategies. Please let us know if there is anything we can do to reduce barriers you may face in reporting cases of occupational asthma. Case #1 - California - A 45-year old, nonsmoking, female x-ray technician sought emergency medical treatment for throat irritation, cough, chest tightness, shortness of breath, and hives which began five minutes after x-ray developing tanks overflowed at work. Case #2 - Michigan - After ten years working in the same hospital, a male worker in his 40s started a three-month rotation as a radiation therapist in the hospital's cancer center. His duties included pouring a two-part mixture into a plastic bag, sealing it and molding the bag to fit the patient. He developed sneezing, headaches and sinus problems along with chest tightness and slight cough, but did not notice shortness of breath or wheezing. Case #3 - Massachusetts - A 42 year-old, nonsmoking female nurse had been employed at a hospital for over six years when she began to notice respiratory symptoms associated with work. She reported wheezing, cough, chest tightness and shortness of breath, diagnosed as work-related asthma. Case # 4 - New Jersey - A 52 year-old, nonsmoking female worked for nine years in the pulmonary function testing department of an ambulatory care facility. During that time she suffered recurrent symptoms of cough, shortness of breath, wheezing and chest tightness, as well as episodes of sinusitis and bronchitis. An evaluation of the facility revealed that the employees were exposed to glutaraldehyde vapors released from a bucket of sterilizing solution stored in a cabinet.
Occupational-diseases; Occupational-health; Lung-disease; Work-environment; Occupational-exposure; Respiratory-system-disorders; Pulmonary-system-disorders; Bronchial-asthma; Employee-exposure; Occupational-respiratory-disease; Health-care; Surveillance-programs; Lung-irritants; Case-studies; Physicians; Medical-services; Emergency-care; Airway-resistance; Emergency-treatment; X-ray-technicians; Radiation; Radiation-therapy; Smoking; Cigarette-smoking; Antineoplastic-agents; Nurses; Nursing; Aldehydes; Vapors
Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Occupational Health Surveillance Program, 250 Washington Street, 6th Floor, Boston, MA 02108
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Source Name
SENSOR Occupational Lung Disease Bulletin
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Massachusetts State Department of Public Health