Occupational Dermatology / Contact Allergies

Occupational Dermatology comprises a large variety of skin eczemas related to the professional activity of the patient. Our central focus is careful and comprehensive diagnosis in order to provide social insurance plans with the best possible foundation for assessing continued work processes.

Symptoms and affected organs

In Dermatology, occupational diseases mostly affect the skin but can also affect the airways.


Occupational allergies of the skin primarily manifest themselves as eczema, rarely as hives (urticaria). Among the most important triggers are epoxy resins, cement, rubber-containing substances, ingredients of cooling lubricants (metallurgy), nickel and hair dyes (occupational eczema in hairdressers).

Most contact eczemas that develop as a result of occupational exposure are not allergies but are caused by leaching and irritation of the skin due to frequent contact with these cutaneous irritants.  One also speaks of dry skin eczema.

Allergies of the airways

These mostly involve an allergy to meal dust in bakers or confectioners. It results in inflammation of the nose, eyes, or the lower respiratory tract manifested as asthma (meal rhinitis, or baker’s asthma). Allergies to isocyanates, chemicals found in spray paints or varnishes, are relatively common. Fine particulate latex dust can also cause severe allergic reactions and asthma. The causes of these allergies are clarified in conjunction with pulmonary medicine specialists at the Department of Pneumology, University Hospital Zurich.


Therapeutic salves, light, or radiation may be used to alleviate symptoms.

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