Research

UTHealth researchers to assess asthma risk in health care workers


By Hannah Rhodes | September 24, 2014

HOUSTON – (Sept. 24, 2014) – Researchers at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Public Health have been awarded a four-year, $1.3 million grant by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to study how the risk of asthma has changed for health care workers in Texas over the last 10 years.

Asthma prevalence is growing across the United States and certain occupational groups are more affected than others, including those in the health care field.

In 2003, the researchers published the results of a survey that found an increased prevalence of asthma among health care workers, especially nurses. After entering the health care field, 7.3 percent of nurses developed asthma. This figure was between 4.2 to 5.6 percent for doctors, respiratory therapists and occupational therapists.

Since nurses handle cleaning products on a regular basis, researchers studied the types of products used for medical instrument cleaning and general surface cleaning. They determined that use of liquid medical disinfectants, such as glutaraldehyde, significantly increased asthma risk in these health care professionals.

Powdered latex gloves and the administration of aerosolized medications were also shown to increase risk of asthma. The risk associated with powdered latex gloves disappeared in the 2000s after health care facilities started using products with fewer respiratory effects.

“Practices in hospitals have changed in 10 years. There are new cleaning chemicals, including many environmentally friendly ones, but are those products without risk? We want to find out,” said George Delclos, M.D., Ph.D., co-principal investigator and professor in the Division of Epidemiology, Human Genetics & Environmental Sciences at the UTHealth School of Public Health.

In the new study, researchers will repeat the same survey with a larger sample size of health care workers in Texas to assess whether the risk has changed. The follow-up study will also focus on different nursing professionals, such as vocational nurses, registered nurses and nurse practitioners.

In the first phase of the study, they will document any new exposures and practices in hospitals, nursing homes and other health care settings that may adversely affect respiratory systems. The second phase will involve a large statewide survey or several thousand medical professionals randomly selected from databases at Texas licensing boards.

“It’s likely that changes in health care setting practices, coupled with increased awareness of asthma in health care workers, has had an effect on the burden of asthma in this worker population,” said David Gimeno, Ph.D., co-principal investigator and associate professor in the Division of Epidemiology, Human Genetics and Environmental Sciences at the UTHealth School of Public Health San Antonio Regional Campus.

Delclos and Gimeno will also study how the burden of asthma relates to health-related absences from work. “It’s possible that there are socioeconomic consequences from the high rates of asthma in health care workers,” said Delclos.

The funding for this project, titled “Asthma in Texas Healthcare Workers II” comes from the CDC and the NIOSH (1R01OH010648-01).




Social Posts

profile_image

Harris Health System

@harrishealth

Happy Fall! https://t.co/wjF8teaVxm

33 mins ago
profile_image

Texas Children's

@TexasChildrens

Learn more about the rise of the anti-vaccination movement in @TexasChildrens second season of Outcomes. Listen here: https://t.co/4a9hcW4WyQ #OutcomesPodcast #TexasChildrens https://t.co/MxsKLH8Ory

39 mins ago
profile_image

TexasHeartInstitute

@Texas_Heart

RT @MoveItMonday: You don't have to leave your chair to #MoveItMonday! Try these three simple chair yoga exercises to stretch away stress,…

44 mins ago
profile_image

University of Houston

@UHouston

RT @houstonalumni: Naming the mascot “Shasta” was an idea that came in 1947 when Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity bought UH’s first live…

50 mins ago
profile_image

MD Anderson Cancer Center

@MDAndersonNews

#Clinicaltrials are at the core of our mission to #endcancer. Learn from our Dr. Patrick Hwu how they help us discover new treatments to benefit future and current patients: https://t.co/ENqWbPrvNt https://t.co/Jkuu9JlXbg

58 mins ago
profile_image

Veterans Affairs

@DeptVetAffairs

Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Army Veteran Charles J. Gestrich, who served as a railway mail clerk during the Korean War from 1951 to 1953: https://t.co/6mzBvGdZtR

1 hour ago
profile_image

Veterans Affairs

@DeptVetAffairs

@USMC Veteran Kionte lost his leg in an IED blast. During recovery, he experienced depression and sought support. Visit https://t.co/tBxE005jeW to hear more about Kionte’s journey back to physical and mental health.

1 hour ago
profile_image

Rice University

@RiceUniversity

Malawi’s national adoption of affordable neonatal CPAP technology developed at @Rice360atRiceU resulted in sustained improvements in the survival of babies with respiratory illness, according to a new study in the journal Pediatrics. https://t.co/mYtNlEf8uz

2 hours ago
profile_image

Veterans Affairs

@DeptVetAffairs

@USMC Veteran Kionte lost his leg in an IED blast. During his recovery, he experienced depression and sought support. Visit https://t.co/tBxE005jeW to hear more about Kionte’s journey back to physical and mental health.

2 hours ago
profile_image

Rice University

@RiceUniversity

RT @RiceUNews: Here's to 10 years of fun and fitness!@ricerec is celebrating its 10th anniversary with a week of events, starting today…

2 hours ago
profile_image

BCMHouston

@bcmhouston

Happy 20th Birthday to the Baylor International Pediatric AIDS Initiative! Find out how this program has grown over the last two decades. https://t.co/S5PSODwhVt #BIPAI

2 hours ago
profile_image

Houston Methodist

@MethodistHosp

@lesmiskid @blummer27 @JuliaMorales @RealToddKalas @astros Thanks for sharing this great pic!

3 hours ago
profile_image

MD Anderson Cancer Center

@MDAndersonNews

How researchers, led by our Dr. Rodabe Amaria, are working to make pre-surgical treatment an option for more #melanoma patients: https://t.co/ljUwUPQxav #endcancer

3 hours ago
profile_image

BCMHouston

@bcmhouston

Each year, our faculty and staff are given a work day to pursue a volunteer activity they are passionate about. Learn about some of their experiences. https://t.co/xErhwmEeds #volunteering #community https://t.co/uupd0H3YVS

3 hours ago
profile_image

Rice University

@RiceUniversity

RT @RiceUNews: Wondering about the new #art going up inside Brochstein Pavilion this week?It's the first in @RiceUniversity Public Art’s…

4 hours ago