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All about occupational asthma

If you suffer from occupational asthma, it means you are breathing in chemical fumes, gases, dust, or other substances while on the job, which brings on asthma.

Have a look at one of the most important symptoms of occupational asthma:


Occupational asthma causes classical asthma symptoms such as chest tightness, wheezing, and shortness of breath. Other symptoms could include a runny nose, nasal congestion, eye irritation, and tearing.


Over 250 workplace substances have been identified as possible causes of occupational asthma including animal substances such as proteins found in dander, hair, scales, fur, saliva, and body wastes; chemicals used to make paints, varnishes, and adhesives; chemicals used to make insulation; packaging materials; and foam mattresses.

Enzymes used in detergents and conditioners can exacerbate asthma, and so can metal, particularly platinum, chromium, and nickel sulphate. Then there are plant substances, including proteins found in natural rubber latex, flour, cereals, and cotton, plus respiratory irritants, such as chlorine gas, sulphur dioxide, and smoke - all these can certainly provoke asthma.


The same medical guidelines apply to treating both occupational and non-occupational asthma. These can include inhaled corticosteroids, long-acting beta agonists, and combination inhalers.

Short-term medications include short-acting beta agonists and oral and intravenous corticosteroids.

Prevent it

Workplaces need to control the worker's level of exposure to irritants. Such measures can include effective air filtration, better control methods to prevent exposure, using less harmful substances, and providing personal protective equipment for workers.

You can do several things on your own too - quit smoking, get a flu vaccination, lose weight and avoid medications that may make symptoms worse.

Can you grow out of asthma?

No, you can't; it's yours for life. Asthma, which often starts in childhood, may wax and wane, but it remains throughout a person's life.

But this doesn't mean it's always deadly and will always keep you from exercising or leading a normal life. In fact, exercise may be good for asthma, particularly swimming, since it helps with breathing and strengthening the lungs.

Being active also strengthens the immune system. If you face symptoms during exercise, always have your reliever with you and use it when needed. If you're still connected, review your asthma management plan with your doctor.


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