Occupations That Put You At A Higher Risk of Developing Asthma; Is your job on the list?

Also known as work-related asthma, occupational asthma is a type of condition caused by inhaling irritants at work. These substances can trigger an immune system response that changes how the lungs function. Occupational asthma can be a new onset or the return of previously dormant asthma. Read on to know which jobs are most at risk.
Occupational asthma

Certain professions are at elevated risk for occupational asthma when the substances at work cause chronic lung disease

Do you suffer from asthma, but only when you are at your job? According to experts, the constant wheezing and breathlessness at work are signs of occupational asthma. Even though it is like regular asthma, this disorder causes the airways of the lungs to swell and narrow because of triggers, the attack in occupational asthma happens only in the workplace.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at least 17 per cent of adult-onset asthma cases are related to occupational exposures, and 22 per cent of adults with asthma experience work-exacerbated asthma. Some studies have also suggested that up to 58 per cent of adults with asthma experience work-related asthma.
Doctors say workers are exposed to at least one of 250 known agents known to cause occupational asthma in the workplace. The symptoms of those with occupational asthma often get worse as the work week goes on. They usually go away when you leave work or over the weekend.

What are the triggers?

According to experts, the most common triggers of occupational asthma include:
  • Wood dust
  • Grain and flour dust
  • Animal dander
  • Fungus and mold
  • Chemicals
  • Cleaning products
  • Latex gloves
According to studies, 10 types of employees are at higher risk for asthma due to frequent exposure to irritants, including hairdressers, animal handlers, metal workers, and carpet makers. Certain professions are at elevated risk for occupational asthma when the substances at work cause chronic lung disease.
Those who work with pets also experience coughing, breathlessness, and wheezing from being exposed to a greater amount of dust and fur and developing a sensitivity to it. With the hay fever season in full swing, nasal symptoms and sensitivities also increase. Doctors also say that the allergy season begins in full swing till October. According to studies, ten professions that face the highest risk for occupational asthma, include:
  • Hairdressers
  • Animal handlers (including veterinary nurses and pet groomers)
  • Bakers
  • Cleaners
  • Mill operators
  • Metal workers
  • Pharmaceutical workers
  • Chemical manufacturers
  • Carpet makers
  • Food production workers
  • Adhesive handlers

When does your asthma attack become a medical emergency?

If you have a severe asthma attack, you need immediate medical care. The first step is using a rescue inhaler, which provides fast-acting medicines to help you breathe. A rescue inhaler and a maintenance inhaler are not the same. You use maintenance inhalers every day and rescue inhalers only in an emergency.
If your rescue inhaler doesn’t help or you don’t have it with you, go to the nearest emergency department if you have:
  • Bluish lips or fingernails (in lighter-skinned people) or gray or white lips and gums (in darker-skinned people).
  • Feelings of anxiousness or panic.
  • Pressure or pain in the chest.
  • Severe wheezing or coughing that won’t stop.
  • Trouble talking.
  • Very rapid breathing.
    How is occupational asthma treated?
If your healthcare provider diagnoses you with occupational asthma, you can manage it. Your provider may recommend medications to control or prevent symptoms. Depending on the type of medicine, you may breathe in the drugs or take them by mouth. An inhaler, nebulizer, or other inhaler delivers some medication when you breathe it.
  • Is there a cure for occupational asthma?
  • Just like “regular” asthma, there is no cure for occupational asthma. But you can control it by avoiding triggers and using medicines correctly. Both actions can cut down the number and severity of attacks.
  • How can I reduce the risk of occupational asthma?
  • The most important thing you can do to avoid developing occupational asthma is to avoid breathing in common irritants. Respirators and personal protective equipment can help. But even with protection, it’s important to have proper ventilation when working with irritants.
    End of Article
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