Home / Allergies / How to Prevent Occupational Asthma

How to Prevent Occupational Asthma

Sometimes you are in an occupation that you might have to change if you suffer from asthma; but there are places of employment that can move you to another area so you do not suffer. It it is not possible; you might want to look for another job. There are precautions that employers can take to help.

Occupational asthma cannot always be easily defined. Even with lung function and skin tests; there are occupational asthma sufferers whose tests are negative. It is recommended that you have a test done at work as well as off work.

There are various types of occupational asthma: Immediate, Late, and Dual. Immediate asthma reactions occur within the first 20 minutes and takes about two hours to recover. Late usually occurs within 24 hours but takes three to four hours for recovery. Dual is a combination of Immediate and Late.

There are some cases of occupational asthma that will not show up for six to 12 months, and cases where its effect is not known for 25 years. That is why it is so difficult to attribute to an occupational-related illness.

Industrial chemicals like chlorine, formaldehyde, dust, fumes, vapours are the most common causes of occupational asthma. Animal hair is also a common hazard for those working in animal handler facilities. These are known to cause respiratory disease resulting in an abnormal response of the body to an agent in the workplace referred to as occupational asthma. Sometimes the symptoms may or may not show up on tests; however, some occupational asthma victims develop skin rashes that discontinue with medical treatment. If tests prove positive; the following are recommendations for preventing future bouts:

– The employees should wear dust masks that are properly fitted

– If there are other areas where the employee can be relocated; he should be transferred

– If the employee cannot be relocated or the job changed; he should move to another company in order to save his life

– If possible, chemicals should be changed or replaced with less harmful substances

– More ventilation if possible

– Education on properly handling in order to prevent spillage.

When numbers of employees are suffering from occupational asthma and other hazards that are directly related to the job or plant; the governmental agency; Occupational Safety Health Organization (OSHA), should be notified by the Human Resources Department. They will evaluate the plant’s environment to determine what changes that could possibly be made. They work for the benefit of the company as well as the employees. Should the company not make proper revisions; they could possibly receive be fined.

If you believe you have occupational asthma, take all of the precautions that you can; then report it to your supervisor because it is known to be fatal. Chemicals and other factors will constrict the muscles in the airways resulting in occupational asthma.