Occupational Asthma - Signs and Symptoms

Please describe the signs and symptoms associated with your occupational asthma.

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What are symptoms and signs of occupational asthma?

Symptoms usually begin with wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness weeks to years after workplace exposure. Often, runny nose (rhinorrhea) and inflammation of the lining around the eyes (conjunctivitis) are present as well and may even occur before any wheezing or shortness of breath develops. Occasionally cough with or without phlegm (sputum) production may be present as well.

Initially, patients may notice that their symptoms are worse at work and better during weekends or holidays away from work. If no action is taken, patients may develop constant symptoms.

The latency period between the time of exposure to the time of onset of symptoms is highly variable. The latency period for occupational asthma caused by low-molecular weight compounds seems to be shorter than that for high-molecular weight compounds. The latency period for high-molecular weight compounds is often several years. Again, in the case of reactive airways dysfunction syndrome (RADS), symptoms will occur within the first 24 hours of a massive exposure.

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