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J Agromedicine. 2006;11(2):27-35.

Treating skin disease: self-management behaviors of Latino farmworkers.

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Department of Family and Community Medicine, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Medical Center Boulevard, Winston-Salem, NC 27157-1084, USA.


Latino migrant and seasonal farmworkers experience high rates of skin disease that result from their working and living conditions. Knowledge of the ways farmworkers treat skin disease symptoms will provide a foundation for developing culturally appropriate health education, improving the delivery of health services, and improving occupational health policy for agricultural workers. The purpose of this paper is to describe skin disease self-management practices among Latino migrant and seasonal farmworkers in North Carolina. This analysis uses a qualitative design based on in-depth interviews with 30 Latino farmworkers (six females, 24 males). Computer assisted, systematic procedures are used to analyze the verbatim transcripts of these interviews. Participants shared a consistent set of health self-management actions in treating skin disease. These actions were within the domains of self-care and medical care. A model of skin disease self-management among Latino farmworkers includes the self-care actions of hygiene, use of home remedies and use of over-the-counter remedies, with farmworkers often combining different domains of self-care. While farmworkers acknowledge the benefits of medical care, they are also mindful of barriers to its use, including cost, transportation and language. The large percentage of farmworkers who experience skin problems indicates that health outreach workers who serve this population need to provide education on preventing and treating skin problems, and they need to recommend to farmworkers appropriate over-the-counter medicines for the treatment of these skin problems. Appropriate medical care for treating skin problems that are dangerous and reduce farmworkers' quality-of-life needs to be made available to this population.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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