Information about Occupational Asthma
We Have to Know about the Occupational Asthma
- Occupational Asthma is a lung condition caused by inhaling fumes, gases or dust at workplace. It can also worsen any pre-existing asthma
- When recognized and treated early, occupational asthma is usually reversible. But the only sure way to prevent the worst consequence of occupational asthma — permanent lung damage — is to completely avoid whatever is causing the condition.
Causes of Occupational Asthma
- Animal substances. Proteins found in dander, hair, scales, fur, saliva and body wastes.
- Anhydrides, diisocyanates and acids used to make paints, varnishes, adhesives, and laminates, chemicals used to make insulation, packaging materials, and foam mattresses
- Used in detergents, flour conditioners, some pharmaceuticals and meat tenderizers.
- Platinum, chromium and nickel sulfate.
- Plant substances. Proteins found in natural rubber latex, flour, cereals, cotton, flax, rye, wheat and papain, a digestive enzyme derived from papaya.
- Respiratory irritants. Chlorine gas, sulfur dioxide and smoke.
- Occupational asthma may be caused by one of three processes:
- Direct irritation. Symptoms may develop immediately after exposure to substances, such as ammonia, sulfur dioxide, chlorine, hydrochloric acid and environmental smoke.
- Allergic sensitization. Allergy is developed from continued exposure to a specific substance. Symptoms may take less than a year, or several years.
- Pharmacological reaction. Some substances increase body’s natural production of chemicals that trigger occupational asthma symptoms, such as histamine and acetylcholine.
Signs and Symptoms of Occupational Asthma
- Shortness of breath
- Chest tightness
- Runny nose
- Nasal congestion
- Eye irritation
During the early stages of the disease, symptoms appear shortly after exposure to the workplace substance that causes it. Sometimes, signs or symptoms do not appear till 12 hours. Asthma may worsen as the week progresses, subside during weekends and vacations, and recur when the person returns to work. In later stages of the disease, signs and symptoms may also appear when one is away from work.
Do’s & Don’ts – Occupational Asthma
- Avoid employment in high-risk professions, especially if you have a family or personal history of allergies or asthma.
- If you smoke, quit now.
Medical advice for Occupational Asthma
- If you have respiratory problems that occur or worsen at work and get better when you’re away from work, see a doctor.
Risk factors of Occupational Asthma
- Working around substances that are known to cause the disease.
- Family or personal history of allergies or asthma.
- Smoking, especially on the job.
Treatment for Occupational Asthma
- Avoid the workplace substance that causes your symptoms.
- Try to change jobs.
- Medications to treat the symptoms
Self care for Occupational Asthma
- Avoid irritating gases like sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, and chlorine
- Regular Exercise.
- Minimize household allergens such as mold, pollen, dust mites and pet dander, can aggravate symptoms of occupational asthma. Thorough cleaning practices, especially in your bedroom, can minimize your exposure to these substances and help you breathe easier.