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Allergy. 1998 Feb;53(2):204-9.

Occupational allergy caused by flowers.

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  • 1Department of Allergology, University Hospital Dijkzigt, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.


We describe 14 consecutive patients with complaints due to the handling of flowers. The symptoms varied from allergic rhinoconjunctivitis and asthma to urticaria. Most patients had professions in the flower industry. Skin prick tests (SPT) were performed with home-made pollen extracts from 17 different flowers known to be the most commonly grown and sold in The Netherlands RAST against mugwort, chrysanthemum, and solidago was performed. The diagnosis of atopy against flowers was based on work-related symptoms due to the handling of flowers, positive SPT with flower extracts, and positive RAST. The concordance between SPT and case history was 74%, and that between SPT and RAST was 77% Extensive cross-sensitization was seen to pollen of several members of the Compositae family (e.g., Matricaria, chrysanthemum, solidago) and to pollen of the Amaryllidaceae family (Alstroemeria and Narcissus). Homemade flower extracts can be used to confirm IgE-mediated flower allergy. Mugwort can be used as a screening test for possible flower allergy. For most patients, the allergy led to a change of profession.

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