Researchers attempt to access asthma risk for health care employees
When it comes to increasing the risk of an asthma attack, many studies have alluded to your environment being a primary factor for elevating episodes of breathing complications.
When it comes to increasing the risk of an asthma attack, many studies have alluded to your environment being a primary factor for elevating episodes of breathing complications. While prescriptions to medications such as Advair continue to serve as efficient treatment methods, sometimes where you work can override any alleviating effects these drugs can produce. In fact, researchers are now beginning to explore whether health care workers are at a high risk for experiencing more severe asthma.
Colleagues from the University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston, have recently been awarded a grant by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to assess and analyze the current risk of asthma health care workers have endured over the last 10 years. The grant allows the researchers a four-year, $1.3 million boost in funding to determine exactly whether or not any prevalence of asthma in the medical industry has taken place in the previous decade.
Back in 2003, the researchers had unveiled results of a survey that included evidence of an increased rate of asthma among health care workers, especially in nurses. After serving within the medical industry, 7.3 percent of nurses were found to eventually develop asthma, while 4.2 to 5.6 percent of doctors also became victims of the respiratory condition.
One of the primary ideas the researchers have in regards to why more health care employees face a greater risk of asthma has to do with their frequent handling of cleaning products. To address this potential correlation, the colleagues studied the effects of the most commonly used cleaning products used in hospitals, specifically coming to the conclusion that liquid medical disinfectants, such as glutaraldehyde, could significantly increase the odds of a health care worker experiencing asthma in the future. Other regular medical products that were discovered to raise asthma risk included aerosolized medications and powdered latex gloves, although the use of latex gloves has essentially disappeared from hospitals after the initial results of this study.
Dr. George Delclos, a professor at the UTHealth School of Public Health and co-principal investigator in the study, acknowledged that while certain alterations have been made within hospitals to improve asthmatic conditions, new products may be just as costly when it comes to producing symptoms of breathing difficulty.
"Practices in hospitals have changed in 10 years. There are new cleaning chemicals, including many environmentally friendly ones, but are those products without risk? We want to find out," Delclos said in a statement. "It's possible that there are socioeconomic consequences from the high rates of asthma in health care workers."
Understanding occupational asthma
Other signs that you may be experiencing occupational asthma include symptoms becoming worse as the work week progresses. If any of these signs begin to disappear during the weekend or on vacations, only to return once you come back to work, you should seek a physician immediately to determine a potential diagnoses of occupational asthma.