Preventing Asthma in Animal Handlers


NIOSH recommends the following measures to cut back exposures to animal allergens within the workplace and forestall animal-induced asthma and allergies:
Modify ventilation and filtration systems:
Increase the ventilation rate and humidity in the animal-housing areas.
Ventilate animal-housing and -handling areas separately from the remainder of the power.
Direct airflow far from workers and toward the backs of the animal cages.
Install ventilated animal cage racks or filter-high animal cages.
Perform animal manipulations at intervals ventilated hoods or safety cabinets when doable.
Decrease animal density (range of animals per cubic meter of area volume).
Avoid sporting street clothes while operating with animals. Leave work clothes at the workplace to avoid potential exposure issues for members of the family.
Keep cages and animal areas clean. Take particular care to manage exposures during cleaning.
Use absorbent pads for bedding. If these are unavailable, use corncob bedding rather than sawdust bedding.
Use an animal species or sex that is known to be less allergenic than others.
Reduce skin contact with animal merchandise like dander, serum, and urine by using gloves, lab coats, and approved particulate respirators with faceshields.
Provide training to educate staff regarding animal allergies and steps for risk reduction.
Provide health monitoring and appropriate counseling and medical followup for staff who became sensitized or have developed allergy symptoms.