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Home > Health Library > Occupational Asthma
Occupational asthma is the most common form of work-related lung disease in many countries. When a person gets asthma as an adult, exposure at work is a likely cause.
This type of asthma happens when a person is exposed to certain substances in the workplace. Examples are wood dust, plastics, and certain chemicals. Breathing in these substances can irritate your lungs or cause them to swell and get inflamed. If you already have asthma, being exposed to these things on the job can make your asthma worse.
Treatment involves reducing your exposure to substances that trigger symptoms and taking medicines.
Occupational asthma happens when a person breathes in certain substances in the workplace.
There are some things that may cause occupational asthma and certain jobs in which people might be exposed to them. These include:
People who have occupational asthma usually have symptoms during the workweek. They may cough or wheeze. Or their chest may feel tight. These may develop hours after they leave the workplace.
Symptoms generally get better during weekends and vacations. If you have any of these symptoms, let your doctor know about them as soon as you can. The earlier you let your doctor know, the better the chances are to find out the cause of your symptoms.
To diagnose occupational asthma, your doctor will ask you about what irritants or allergens you've been exposed to in the workplace.
A test, called a specific inhalation challenge, will also be done. During this test, you're exposed to a small amount of a possible workplace irritant or allergen. Your lung function is then measured to find out whether the substance is the cause of symptoms.
Occupational asthma is treated by:
You may need to change your job if your symptoms don't get better even when you avoid possible triggers and take medicines. Talk with your doctor or asthma specialist before you change your job.
Current as of:
July 6, 2021
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal MedicineAdam Husney MD - Family MedicineElizabeth T. Russo MD - Internal Medicine
Current as of: July 6, 2021
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Elizabeth T. Russo MD - Internal Medicine
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