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- Occupational asthma facts
- What is occupational asthma?
- What causes occupational asthma?
- What are risk factors for occupational asthma?
- What are symptoms and signs of occupational asthma?
- How do health-care professionals diagnose occupational asthma?
- What is the treatment for occupational asthma?
- What are complications of occupational asthma?
- Is it possible to prevent occupational asthma?
- Where can a person find more information about occupational asthma?
Quick GuideAsthma Attack Signs, Treatments, and Prevention
What is the treatment for occupational asthma?
The mainstay of treatment for occupational asthma is removal from the exposure. Most patients with occupational asthma will get worse over time if they remain exposed, so avoidance of the trigger is important. This often means changing jobs or changing the particular duty at the workplace.
Occupational asthma can be treated the same as regular asthma, with inhaled medicines called bronchodilators that open (dilate) the airways as well as inhaled anti-inflammatory medicines (glucocorticoids). However, the most important intervention is to avoid any further exposure.
Respiratory masks do not prevent symptoms of occupational asthma.
What are complications of occupational asthma?
Occupational asthma becomes worse over time if the patient continues to be exposed to the offending agent. After a person becomes sensitized, even very small amounts of the offending agent are capable of triggering significant symptoms. The airway constriction (bronchospasm) can be life-threatening if severe.
After avoiding any further exposure, most patients will have improvement in their asthma over a span of months to years, but it is rare that occupational asthma will completely go away. People who were exposed to lower levels of an offending agent for shorter periods of time are more likely to experience eventual improvement in their asthma.
Is it possible to prevent occupational asthma?
Occupational asthma can be prevented by monitoring levels of exposure in the workplace, which may help employees from becoming sensitized to the agent. Many potential agents can be monitored continuously. Close monitoring of employee symptoms and prompt removal from the environment once symptoms arise will help prevent occupational asthma complications and maybe reduce its severity. All smokers are advised to quit smoking, and this may help prevent the development of occupational asthma.