Risk level

A feel for dough

Bakers make sure that we can buy tasty buns, cakes and bread. It's good to be a night owl as bakeries tend to be busy when the rest of us have gone to bed. Besides the risk of tummy ache from too much cake mixture, there are other factors to take into consideration. Flour dust can cause and aggravate asthma. Handwashes, flour and spices irritate the skin and can cause allergies and eczema.

What are the risks?

Bakers can become hypersensitive to dust from the various types of flour they use, which can result in a runny nose, irritated eyes, coughing and asthma even after they've gone home.

Hygiene is very important at bakeries and bakers have to wash their hands frequently, which is tough on the skin. Everyday spices such as cinnamon and vanilla can cause contact allergy, and if you're unlucky you might end up with hand eczema. If the eczema gets infected, you will not be allowed to work, as there is a risk that the bacteria from the infection will spread.

Prevention and avoidance

Protect your hands by rubbing in an unperfumed moisturising hand cream after work and during breaks.

It's worth knowing that it will be hard to carry on working as a baker if you already have or develop hand eczema and/or an allergy to flour dust - you may be forced to choose a completely different career.

If you have asthma or hand eczema, or have previously had hand eczema, working as a baker could easily bring it back or make it worse.

Want to know more?

If you have any questions or want to know more about asthma and eczema when working as a baker, get in touch with your school nurse or careers adviser.