Have you ever felt a need to
scratch an itch after reading a newspaper? Well, aside from being irritated by
headlines about rising prices and inept government officials, chances are you
may have an allergy from printing. It may be hard to believe but plastic surgeons warn about allergic
reactions from handling printed materials is not all that uncommon. Some of the
symptoms that may indicate an allergy involve itchiness, rashes, hives,
swelling of the affected area and in severe cases sneezing, watery eyes and may
even lead to dizziness, nausea and shortness of breath. For some, the symptoms
may be so mild and fleeting that the idea of developing a Skin Rash From Printing sounds quite ridiculous.However, there are many people who do clearly suffer from this condition that it has become a
serious health issue requiring medical attention.
From Printing To Scratching
It is bewildering to say the
least, but an allergy to various materials that undergo printing is very real
to a lot of people. The situation is
further complicated by the fact that the printing industry involves a lot of
raw materials and processes. Before you can read about the latest buzz on your
favorite celebrities on the tabloids, there’s a hundred and one things that
need to happen first. Trees need to be cut down while resin and dyes are to be extracted
and manufactured. These raw materials are then chemically broken down, mixed and
then turned into pulp using machines that require various oils and lubricants.
There is also a series of treatments that use a concoction of potent chemicals
like bleach, preservatives like formaldehyde, and various industrial-grade coatings.
Once formed and dried, the paper will be cut to the right size and transported.
The dust and other contaminants along the way may already be a source of
allergens for people who are sensitive to such.
In addition to all that, not
only is the paper and the processes involved in making it culpable for the skin
rash, difficulty breathing and other symptoms of allergy, the inks and dyes
used in printing may more than likely be also at fault. For instance, a lot of
people are allergic to soy protein, yet soy ink is used widely in the printing
industry. Solvents and thinners are regularly used with the ink during the
printing process, as well as in the cleaning up after printing. Exposure by
inhalation to these irritants and allergens is a serious health risk. Skin
absorption of these chemicals is equally as severe and is known to lead to
Knowing that printing is a
multi-material, multi-process activity, it is now a no-brainer that you can get
a Skin Rash From Printing.
Avoiding Printing Rashes
Generally, skin rashes due to
contact exposure to newsprint or any other printed material would be referred
to either as contact dermatitis or contact urticaria. In contact dermatitis,
the person develops a sensitivity to the irritant or allergen over time. On the
other hand, contact urticaria is characterized by a sudden onset or reaction to
the offending substance. For both situations, prevention is a better way to
manage them, rather than finding a cure. By avoiding contact with printed
matter, you can avoid the risk of having an allergic attack.
However, if you work in a
printing factory or in an office that have not transitioned to paperless
workflows, avoidance may be easier said than done. Using barrier creams, skin
cleansers and protective gloves and clothing when handling and working with
print will help to keep contact exposure to a minimum.
Be In The Know
It would be useful to know to
which substance a patient may be specifically allergic to. It may be the paper
in general or just specific types of fibers, or maybe only to paper dust. Solvents
are an irritant for a lot of people, but a smaller number would be reactive to
specific inks and dyes. An allergy specialist can provide tests to narrow down
the substances causing a particular person’s skin rash or dermatitis. This will
help in avoiding having an allergic reaction from printing.
It is also important to
recognize allergic symptoms and to not take them lightly. If you see it and
feel it, don’t hide it. Dryness, itching, reddening of the skin, skin rash, swelling
and pain of the affected portion are just some of the obvious signs of an
allergic reaction. These may appear on fingers, hands, wrists, elbows and other
areas where skin may be exposed. When such reactions occur, seek medical help