If you have symptoms of occupational asthma, you may need to change jobs to avoid exposure. However, certain steps taken in the workplace can help reduce the risk of occupational asthma:
- Change the work process to better handle irritant exposure.
- Use industrial hygiene techniques that are appropriate for the type of irritant you are exposed and that will keep exposure levels to a minimum.
- Get regular medical checkups to identify possible damage that may occur in the lungs or other medical conditions specifically related to exposure to the irritant.
- Be aware of any personal or family history of asthma which may put you at greater risk for occupational asthma in certain industries.
How is occupational asthma diagnosed?
The diagnosis of occupational asthma usually includes a detailed medical history and physical examination to establish the relationship between symptoms and exposure in the workplace. Other diagnostic procedures may include pulmonary function tests before and after work to detect narrowing of the airways, laboratory tests of blood and sputum, and chest X-rays to rule out other lung diseases.
Treatment of Occupational Asthma
Treatment for occupational asthma usually includes avoiding the substance that triggers the attack or asthma symptoms. People with occupational asthma should avoid inhaling gases such as chlorine, nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide, as these substances may aggravate asthma symptoms. Other treatment may include medications to control asthma. If occupational asthma is advanced, treatment may also include:
- Physical therapy.
- Devices for assisting the respiratory apparatus