Items in AFP with MESH term: Occupational Exposure
Asbestos-Related Lung Disease - Article
ABSTRACT: The inhalation of asbestos fibers may lead to a number of respiratory diseases, including lung cancer, asbestosis, pleural plaques, benign pleural effusion, and malignant mesothelioma. Although exposure is now regulated, patients continue to present with these diseases because of the long latent period between exposure and clinical disease. Presenting signs and symptoms tend to be nonspecific; thus, the occupational history helps guide clinical suspicion. High-risk populations include persons in construction trades, boilermakers, shipyard workers, railroad workers, and U.S. Navy veterans. Every effort should be made to minimize ongoing exposure. Patients with a history of significant asbestos exposure may warrant diagnostic testing and follow-up assessment, although it is unclear whether this improves outcomes. Patients with significant exposure and dyspnea should have chest radiography and spirometry. The prognosis depends on the specific disease entity. Asbestosis generally progresses slowly, whereas malignant mesothelioma has an extremely poor prognosis. The treatment of patients with asbestos exposure and lung cancer is identical to that of any patient with lung cancer. Because exposure to cigarette smoke increases the risk of developing lung cancer in patients with a history of asbestos exposure, smoking cessation is essential. Patients with asbestosis or lung cancer should receive influenza and pneumococcal vaccinations.
ABSTRACT: Given the burden of occupational illnesses and injuries in the United States, family physicians should understand the role workplace exposures may play in patients' chief concerns. Incorporating employment screening questions into patients' intake questionnaires is an efficient means of identifying potential occupational causes of symptoms. Recommended questions include what kind of job patients have; whether their symptoms are worse at work; whether they are or have been exposed to dust, fumes, chemicals, radiation, or loud noise; and whether they think their health problems may be related to their work. These questions are especially important when the diagnosis or etiology is in doubt. Depending on patients' responses to the screening questions, a more detailed occupational history may be appropriate. It can be useful to ask about routine tasks performed during a typical work shift, as well as anything out of the ordinary (e.g., a change in routine, an injury or accident). The occupational history should include information about alcohol and tobacco use, second or part-time jobs, military service, hobbies, and home environment. Patients with suspected occupational illnesses or injuries may benefit from referral to an occupational medicine specialist for a more detailed assessment and follow-up.
ABSTRACT: Pregnant women are at risk of exposure to nonionizing and ionizing radiation resulting from necessary medical procedures, workplace exposure, and diagnostic or therapeutic interventions before the pregnancy is known. Nonionizing radiation includes microwave, ultrasound, radio frequency, and electromagnetic waves. In utero exposure to nonionizing radiation is not associated with significant risks; therefore, ultrasonography is safe to perform during pregnancy. Ionizing radiation includes particles and electromagnetic radiation (e.g., gamma rays, x-rays). In utero exposure to ionizing radiation can be teratogenic, carcinogenic, or mutagenic. The effects are directly related to the level of exposure and stage of fetal development. The fetus is most susceptible to radiation during organogenesis (two to seven weeks after conception) and in the early fetal period (eight to 15 weeks after conception). Noncancer health effects have not been detected at any stage of gestation after exposure to ionizing radiation of less than 0.05 Gy (5 rad). Spontaneous abortion, growth restriction, and mental retardation may occur at higher exposure levels. The risk of cancer is increased regardless of the dose. When an exposure to ionizing radiation occurs, the total fetal radiation dose should be estimated and the mother counseled about the potential risks so that she can make informed decisions about her pregnancy management.
Latex Allergy - Article
ABSTRACT: Natural latex from the rubber tree Hevea brasiliensis is an allergen in persons with significant cumulative latex exposure, such as those in the health care and rubber industries, as well as those undergoing repeated surgeries, especially if they undergo surgeries early in life. Symptoms of latex allergy may progress rapidly and unpredictably to anaphylaxis. The prevalence of latex allergy has increased as the use of rubber gloves in health care settings has increased. Airborne latex particles that adhere to the cornstarch used to powder gloves are a significant cause of respiratory symptoms and a source of sensitization. Once an individual has become sensitized, he or she may experience allergic symptoms when exposed to any product containing latex. Diagnosis is made initially by the history. Latex-specific IgE testing and skin prick testing may confirm the suspicion. The most effective strategy in the treatment of latex allergy is avoidance; however, there is a large group of sensitized people who have not been identified and who do not recognize that their symptoms are caused by latex allergy. Physicians caring for latex-sensitive persons must act as their advocates in building awareness of the problem and developing protocols for their safe care. Latex-sensitized persons should be educated about the latex content of common objects.