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Nurses working in the operating room have higher risk of severe persistent asthma

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

Nurses working in the operating room have higher risk of severe persistent asthma

A new study suggests that nurses working in the operating rooms have a higher risk of severe persistent asthma, likely because of inhalation of chemical agents. Even so further studies with detailed estimates of occupational exposures, especially to disinfectant/cleaning agents, are warranted and are currently being set up by the same research group.

In this study participated the CREAL researcher, centre of ISGlobal Alliance, Jan-Paul Zock, who explains that “this work is another important step towards the prevention of work-related asthma in health care professionals”.

In fact, operating room nurses are known to be at higher risk for occupational injuries, work-related stress, and particularly high exposure to various toxic agents, including infectious agents, radiation, noise, latex gloves, and anesthetic gases, among health care workers.

Disinfectants and cleaning agents make a deleterious contribution to asthma prevalence in health care workers, particularly for nurses. Some specific disinfectants/cleaning agents used by female hospital workers have been reported strongly associated with current asthma. Nurses have been identified at increased risk of occupational asthma, adult-onset asthma, and asthma exacerbation. In these studies, nurses were often compared with worker groups with potentially heterogeneous socioeconomical status. So far no study had evaluated the association between employment as an operating room nurse, who may be specifically at high risk of exposure, and asthma severity/control.

For further information, consult: Le Moual N, Varraso R, Zock JP, Henneberger P, Speizer FE, Kauffmann F, Camargo CA Jr. Are operating room nurses at higher risk of severe persistent asthma? The Nurses’s Health Study. J Occup Environ Med 2013; 55(8): 973-7.



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