Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Asthma On The Job

Date:
October 22, 2007
Source:
American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology
Summary:
Do asthma symptoms worsen during the workweek and improve on the weekends? Did asthma symptoms begin after starting a new job or work practice? Are you exposed to products or chemicals known to cause asthma?

Could you actually be allergic to work? If you experience symptoms of allergies or asthma in the workplace, you may suffer from occupational asthma.

This disorder is defined as reversible airflow obstruction caused by inhaling allergens, chemicals, fumes, gases, dusts or other potentially harmful substances while "on the job," according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI).

"We estimate that about 15%, or 1 in 7, of adult cases of asthma are caused by the workplace. Occupational asthma accounts for 24.5 million missed workdays for adults each year in the United States," said Karin A. Pacheco, MD, MSPH, FAAAAI, and Chair of the AAAAI's Occupational Diseases Committee. "One of the difficulties in diagnosing occupational asthma is that the symptoms are the same as non-occupational asthma - wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, difficulty exercising and cough. Similar to non-occupational asthma, runny nose, nasal congestion and eye irritation may accompany chest symptoms. The trained physician must first consider an occupational cause, and then look for clues in the patient's history, or the diagnosis will be missed," Pacheco added.

For example, physicians should consider the following questions: Do asthma symptoms worsen during the workweek and improve on the weekends? Did asthma symptoms begin after starting a new job or work practice? Is the patient exposed to products or chemicals known to cause asthma? "Making the connection to the workplace is vital," said Pacheco, "because it offers the best chance of cure by removal from exposure, and may also help prevent disease in other exposed workers."

Are You at Risk?

With occupational asthma, symptoms of asthma may develop for the first time in a previously healthy worker, or childhood asthma that had previously cleared may recur due to new exposure. In some cases, a previous personal or family history of allergies will make a person more likely to develop occupational asthma. However, many individuals who have no such history may develop asthma if exposed to conditions that trigger it. Workers who smoke are at greater risk for developing asthma to some occupational exposures, but not to others.

The incidence of occupational asthma varies by industry, but some workers are at a greater risk than others. Workers who may be at a higher risk include:

  • Health care professionals
  • Employees who wear powdered natural rubber latex gloves
  • Workers manufacturing plastics, rubbers or foam products
  • Bakers and pastry makers
  • Cosmetologists and hairdressers
  • Housekeepers and janitors
  • Workers handling two part adhesives or paints
  • Textile and carpet workers
  • Animal handlers, veterinarians and scientists working with laboratory animals

Preventing Occupational Asthma

Occupational asthma is one disease that potentially can be cured, once the cause is identified and worker exposure is reduced or eliminated. Some, though not all, occupational allergens have exposure limits set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and exposed workers should be monitored by health and safety officers in the workplace.

However, the introduction of new materials and processes, as well as new uses for old materials, mean that workers remain exposed to asthma causing agents in the workplace. Workers who have allergic or asthmatic symptoms on the job, or who anticipate being exposed to agents that increase their risk of developing asthma, should see an allergist/immunologist for an evaluation and proper diagnosis.

In some cases, pre-treatment with asthma and/or allergy medications may counteract the effects of such workplace substances. In other situations, however, complete avoidance of exposure is necessary.

Reducing exposure to occupational asthma triggers, receiving appropriate diagnosis and treatment, and help with establishing avoidance measures will relieve symptoms and improve your quality of life. If you have questions about treatments available for occupational asthma, be sure to ask your allergist/immunologist.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. "Asthma On The Job." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 October 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071019173057.htm>.
American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. (2007, October 22). Asthma On The Job. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071019173057.htm
American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. "Asthma On The Job." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071019173057.htm (accessed August 1, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Friday, August 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Vaccine Might Be Coming, But Where's It Been?

Ebola Vaccine Might Be Coming, But Where's It Been?

Newsy (Aug. 1, 2014) Health officials are working to fast-track a vaccine — the West-African Ebola outbreak has killed more than 700. But why didn't we already have one? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Links Certain Birth Control Pills To Breast Cancer

Study Links Certain Birth Control Pills To Breast Cancer

Newsy (Aug. 1, 2014) Previous studies have made the link between birth control and breast cancer, but the latest makes the link to high-estrogen oral contraceptives. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

Reuters - US Online Video (July 31, 2014) The Republican-led House of Representatives votes to sue President Obama, accusing him of overstepping his executive authority in making changes to the Affordable Care Act. Mana Rabiee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Uganda on Alert for Ebola but No Confirmed Cases

Uganda on Alert for Ebola but No Confirmed Cases

AFP (July 31, 2014) Uganda's health minister said on Thursday that there are no confirmed cases of Ebola in the country, but that it remained on alert for cases of the deadly virus. Uganda has suffered Ebola outbreaks in the past, most recently in 2012. Duration: 00:59 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins