Occupational Asthma: Symptoms & Signs

Occupational asthma is a type of asthma. Asthma is a condition characterized by reversible narrowing of the airways leading to wheezing, cough, chest tightness, and shortness of breath.

Signs and symptoms of occupational asthma are similar to those of asthma including

  • wheezing,
  • shortness of breath,
  • chest tightness, and
  • cough.

Other symptoms and signs associated with occupational asthma can include

The symptoms may get worse during the time spent at work exposed to the offending substances.

Cause of occupational asthma

Exposure to specific substances in the workplace, typically by breathing in fumes, gases, or dust on the job. Inhalation of isocyanates, cereal dust, or flour are currently the most common causes of occupational asthma.

Other occupational asthma symptoms and signs

  • Chest Tightness
  • Cough
  • Eye Irritation
  • Nasal Congestion
  • Runny Nose
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Wheezing


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Medically Reviewed on 8/26/2020
Jameson, J. Larry, et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 20th Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education, 2018.