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Type IV sensitizations in physical therapists: Patch test results of the Information Network of Departments of Dermatology (IVDK) 2007–2011

Authors

  • Maria Girbig,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Occupational and Social Medicine, Medical Faculty Carl Gustav Carus, Technical University of Dresden, Germany
    • Correspondence to

      Maria Girbig

      Technical University of Dresden

      Medical Faculty Carl Gustav Carus

      Department of Occupational and Social Medicine

      Fetscherstraße 74

      01307 Dresden, Germany

      E-mail: Maria.Girbig@tu-dresden.de

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  • Janice Hegewald,

    1. Department of Occupational and Social Medicine, Medical Faculty Carl Gustav Carus, Technical University of Dresden, Germany
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  • Andreas Seidler,

    1. Department of Occupational and Social Medicine, Medical Faculty Carl Gustav Carus, Technical University of Dresden, Germany
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  • Andrea Bauer,

    1. Department of Dermatology, Medical Faculty Carl Gustav Carus, Technical University of Dresden, Germany
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  • Wolfgang Uter,

    1. Institute for Medical Informatics, Biometrics and Epidemiology, Medical Faculty of the University of Erlangen/Nuremberg, Germany
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  • Jochen Schmitt

    1. Department of Occupational and Social Medicine, Medical Faculty Carl Gustav Carus, Technical University of Dresden, Germany
    2. Center for Evidence-Based Health Care, Medical Faculty Carl Gustav Carus, Technical University of Dresden, Germany
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  • Conflict of interest M.G., J.H., A.S., A.B: none. W.U.: honoraria and travel expenses from organizations of the cosmetic industry for lectures to the bodies. J.S.: honoraria for lectures and consultant activity for Novartis and Basilea.

Summary

Background

Physical therapists frequently come in contact with materials that can potentially cause skin irritation and/or allergies. Nevertheless analyses of professionally relevant sensitization patterns are currently lacking.

Patients and methods

A descriptive analysis of the patch test results from the Information Network of Departments of Dermatology (IVDK) was carried out considering patients employed full-time as physical therapists during the years 2007–2011. Information includes dermatologic diagnoses, possible contact substances and cofactors as well as the “hit list” of the most common allergens.

Results

Among the patients (n = 134) the most common diagnoses (1st and 2nd) were allergic contact dermatitis (23.9 %), chronic irritant dermatitis (17.2 %) and atopic dermatitis (19.4 %). In 80 of the 134 patients (59.7 %), the skin lesions were located on the hands. In 62 (46.3 %) of the cases, skin disease was considered work-related. The contact with cosmetics, creams, disinfectants, topical medications and the use of gloves were relevant as putative triggering factors for the respondents. The most common allergens were nickel (II) sulfate (16.5 %), fragrance mix (12.2 %) and fragrance mix II (13.0 %).

Conclusions

In this first comprehensive study of contact allergies among physical therapists in German-speaking countries, a link between skin disease and work was felt likely in nearly 50 % of the tested cohort. To which extent the results shown in this work can be confirmed and which consequences these have for occupational preventive measures should be examined in additional, preferably longitudinal studies.

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