Main Article Content
Objectives: the objectives of this study were to: a) study the association between chronic exposure to flour among bakers and the prevalence of work related respiratory and allergic symptoms, b) assess allergic reaction to flour dust using Skin Prick Test (SPT), c) evaluate the existence of dose-response relationship between exposure to flour and the pulmonary function tests among Bakers.
Subjects and Methods: The study was carried out on 60 bakers working at different bakeries at Dekernis, Dakahlia Governorate, Egypt; and 30 control subjects. All participants were submitted to a self administered questionnaire on respiratory symptoms, general medical examination, chest examination; spirometry and SPT.
Results: All work related respiratory symptoms were more prevalent among bakers compared to the controls (P< 0.05). Moreover, eye and nasal allergic symptoms were more prevalent among bakers compared to the controls (P<0.01). Positive SPTs to wheat grain were more prevalent among bakers (18.30%) compared to the controls (3.30%) (P<0.05). Bakers had lower FVC, FEV1, FEV1/FVC and FEF compared to the controls (P<0.0). Regression analysis test results revealed a negative significant correlation between FVC, FEV1 and FEF; and the duration of exposure to flour, indicating a dose response relationship between the duration of exposure to flour and the pulmonary function tests. Conclusion: long-term occupational exposure to flour among bakers is associated with both respiratory and allergic symptoms most probably due to wheat grain; and could affect their pulmonary function tests with a dose-response relationship.
Keywords: respiratory, allergic, skin prick test, flour , bakers