The Prevalence of Allergic Contact Sensitization of Practicing and Student Nurses

A Akan, M Toyran, M Erkoçoğlu, A Kaya, C Kocabaş


Background: Contact dermatitis (CD) is a significant problem among nurses. Although there are reports about the prevalence of CD from different parts of the world, data about its frequency in Turkey and about allergic contact sensitization among nurses is insufficient.

Objective: To define the frequency and patterns of allergic contact sensitization and related symptoms in practicing and student nurses.

Methods: There were 123 nurses in our hospital practicing in the in-patient clinics. All were invited to participate in the study. 69 working-in nurses and 79 student nurses participated in the study. The main reason for refusal of nurses was that they were usually having a shower daily after a hard working day and they had to postpone having a bath for 3 days if they had a patch test on their back. A ready-to-use patch test system (TRUE test®) with 29 standardized test substances was applied to all of the participants. History about symptoms of CD and allergic diseases was investigated by questionnaire.

Results: While 34.8% (24/69) of practicing nurses had symptoms of CD, 19% (15/79) of student nurses reported the symptoms (p=0.039). The most prevalent positive reaction was to nickel sulfate followed by thimerosal. There was no difference for positive reaction rates between practicing and student nurses. Nurses who had symptoms of CD were older than those without symptoms (p=0.003). The participants with symptoms of CD were more frequently from practicing nurses (p=0.047).

Conclusion: CD is more frequent in practicing nurses than student nurses; allergic contact sensitization is not. This may be attributed to the length of occupation that is also correlated well with the length of exposure to the occupational irritants.


Patch test; Allergic contact; Nurse; Eczema

 pISSN: 2008-6520
 eISSN: 2008-6814

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