Localized skin inflammation is known as occupational contact dermatitis. Itching, soreness, redness, swelling, and the development of small blisters or wheals (itchy, red circles with a white center) on the skin are all signs of inflammation. An allergy or irritation brought on by substances from the workplace that come into close touch with the skin is what causes the inflammation. There are about 3,000 chemicals that are known to cause contact allergies, but only 25 of them are to blame for almost half of the instances of allergic contact dermatitis (ACD).
The progression of allergic contact dermatitis
Workplace-related allergic contact dermatitis manifests itself gradually. An individual can come into constant contact with allergenic substances without experiencing any skin reactions for a certain amount of time. This time frame can be infinite or brief. The ability of a drug to alter certain characteristics of the skin's outer layer determines how allergic it will be. This layer serves as a defense against poisonous chemicals. Some chemicals have the ability to remove water, fats, and oils from the skin's outer layer. These chemicals lessen the skin's natural barrier function and facilitate penetration of substances. Sensitization is a process that precedes the onset of the skin allergy. It begins with allergenic chemicals penetrating the skin's outer layer. From four days to three weeks pass during the process. Skin damage does not appear throughout this time. Once absorbed, the allergenic material mixes with the proteins of the skin. After the allergenic material and skin proteins combine, lymphocytes, a kind of white blood cell, transport the mixture throughout the body. The immune system, which protects the body from pathogens and outside chemicals, includes lymphocytes. The immune system can identify and eliminate pathogens or substances it has come into contact with multiple times thanks to its ""memory."" When previously exposed sensitized employees are exposed again, the allergen triggers a reaction in the lymphocytes. However, they also discharge substances known as lymphokines that harm tissue. These result in skin irritation that itches, hurts, is red, swollen, and produces little blisters or wheals. Normally, this inflammation is limited to the place where the allergen was first encountered, but in extreme circumstances, it may spread to encompass significant portions of the body. Usually beginning twelve hours after exposure, it peaks three to four days later. In roughly seven days, it starts to get better. The allergic sensitization could last the rest of the person's life. The amount of sensitivity may gradually decrease or remain unchanged if the allergen is not exposed again.
What are the underlying causes?
Pre-existing skin diseases like irritant contact dermatitis are among the most frequent causes of allergic contact dermatitis. Acute allergic contact dermatitis can also result from cuts or scratches that allow allergens to enter. The chemical composition of the material (such as whether it is an acid, an alkali, or a salt) is crucial, as are the quantity and concentration of the substance that comes into contact with the skin, the duration of the exposure, and the frequency of exposure. The skin's resistance, which rises with age, is one of the most significant individual factors. Varied people who are exposed to the same allergen have different sensitivities, depending on hereditary factors. Environmental aspects are very important. For instance, sweating while work in hot environments can dissolve some industrial chemical powders, making them more harmful to the skin. But because it may dilute or """"flush out"""" chemicals, perspiration may also serve a defensive purpose. As a result of skin chapping brought on by dry air, allergies may become more likely. Friction against the skin (for example, from operating grinding machines and other equipment), can abrade or scrape away the skin. This action can reduce the protective action of skin against allergens.
What occupations are at risk?
Some of the occupations where allergic contact dermatitis has been seen are listed in the following tables. Some substances which can cause allergic contact dermatitis may not be listed. New materials and new processes introduce new exposures and create new risks. List of Allergens Encountered in Various Occupations Occupations Allergens Agriculture workers Rubber, oats, barley, animal feed, veterinary medications, cement, plants, pesticides, wood preservatives Artists Turpentine, pigments, dyes, colophony, epoxy resin Automobile and aircraft industry workers Chromates, nickel, cobalt, rubber, epoxy and dimethacrylate resins Bakers and confectioners Flavours and spices, orange, lemon, essential oils, dyes, ammonium persulphate and benzoyl peroxide. Bartenders Orange, lemon, lime, flavours Bookbinders Glues, resins, leathers Butchers Nickel, sawdust Cabinet makers and carpenters Stains, glues, woods, turpentine, varnishes, colophony Cleaners Rubber gloves Coal miners Rubber boots and masks Construction workers Chromates, cobalt, rubber and leather gloves, resins, woods Cooks and caterers Foods, onions, garlic, spices, flavours, rubber gloves, sodium metabisulphite, lauryl and octyl gallate, formaldehyde Dentists and dental technicians Local anesthetics, mercury, methacrylates, eugenol, disinfectants, rubber, dental impression material. Dry cleaners Rubber gloves Electricians Fluxes, resins, rubber Electroplaters Nickel, chromium, cobalt Embalmers Formaldehyde Floor-layers Cement, resins, woods, varnish Florists and gardeners Plants, pesticides, rubber gloves Foundry workers Phenol-and urea-formaldehyde resins, colophony Hairdressers Dyes, persulphates, nickel, perfumes, rubber gloves, formaldehyde, resorcinol, pyrogallol Homemakers Rubber gloves, foods, spices, flavours, nickel, chromates, polishes Jewellers Epoxy resin, metals, soldering fluxes Mechanics Rubber gloves, chromates, epoxy resin, antifreeze Medical personnel Rubber gloves, anesthetics, antibiotics, antiseptics, phenothiazines, formaldehyde, glutaraldehyde, liquid chloroxylenol, hand creams Metal workers Nickel, chromates, additives in some cutting oils Office workers Rubber, nickel, glue Painters Turpentine, thinners, cobalt, chromates, polyester resins, formaldehyde, epoxy resin, adhesives, paints Photography industry workers Rubber gloves, colour developers, para-aminophenol, hydroquinone, formaldehyde, sodium metabisulphite, chromates Plastic workers Hardeners, phenolic resins, polyurethanes, acrylics, plasticizers Printers Nickel, chromates, cobalt, colophony, formaldehyde, turpentine Rubber workers Rubber chemicals, dyes, colophony Shoemakers Glues, leather, rubber, turpentine Tannery workers Chromates, formaldehyde, tanning agents, fungicides, dyes Textile workers Formaldehyde resins, dyes, chromates, nickel Veterinarians Rubber gloves, medicaments
How is it recognized?
People with allergic contact dermatitis often consult a doctor. The evaluation of occupational allergic contact dermatitis includes the identification of conditions of exposure. Evaluation begins with a discussion of the person's employment, and requires a detailed description of all the processes involved. It also requires a detailed list of all chemicals in the individual's working environment. It is also helpful to know whether other workers are affected. Diagnosis of allergic contact dermatitis is confirmed by patch test. Minute amounts of suspected substances are applied to the skin, usually on the upper back. Inflammation at the site of application indicates that the person is allergic to a specific substance.
How is it treated?
Sensitized workers should avoid further exposure to the allergen. This avoidance alone is an effective remedy. Allergic contact dermatitis may be treated with anti-inflammatory drugs, and with ointments and skin cleansers. In general, the affected skin should be protected from physical trauma, excessive sunlight, wind, and rapid temperature changes while the dermatitis is active.
How common is it?
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health indicates that contact dermatitis (irritant and allergic combined) represent 90%-95% of the occupational skin diseases in the United States. . Among all cases of occupational dermatitis, allergic contact dermatitis accounts for about twenty percent.
What are the preventive measures?
Establishing a program to avoid exposure of the skin to allergens is will help to eliminate allergic contact dermatitis. As with all hazardous conditions in the workplace, the best control is at the source of the problem. The Canadian Hazardous Product Regulations and the applicable provincial Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) Regulations require workers to be informed about the nature of the products they are exposed to and how to work with them safely. SDSs should be reviewed to identify ingredients that may lead to sensitivities. Additional information may be needed from the manufacturer or through available texts or research articles. To address the issue of chemical sensitization, WHMIS 2015 includes the Respiratory and Skin Sensitization hazard class. Products that are skin sensitizers would be classified in this class and the hazard would be signalled by the exclamation mark and the statement “May cause an allergic skin reaction”. The SDS would indicate precautions and control measures to take when working with such chemicals. Occupational allergic contact dermatitis can be avoided by elimination or substitution (e.g., using products not known to cause dermatitis) , engineering control methods, good housekeeping, personal protection and personal hygiene. Nonhazardous substances should be substituted for hazardous substances. Engineering control methods involve the enclosure of processes to separate workers from the harmful products they work with. Local exhaust systems should be used where toxic substances may escape into the workroom. Good housekeeping includes proper storage of products, frequent disposal of waste, prompt removal of spills, and maintenance of the equipment to keep it free of dust, dirt and drippings. Personal hygiene, including hand washing, is very important to prevent contact dermatitis, but workers should be aware that excessive hand washing with soap and detergents can also damage the skin. Washrooms, toilets, and showers should be conveniently located and supplied with adequate hot water, disposable towels, and soap. Protective clothing such as aprons and gloves should be properly selected. Not all protective clothing resists all substances. Manufacturers' specifications should be followed. Barrier creams may be used where appropriate, especially when gloves or sleeves cannot be used safely, but they do not shield as well as protective clothing.""" - https://www.affordablecebu.com/