Occupations and Asthma

If you have developed asthma as an adult, it may have been caused by something at work; this is known as occupational asthma.

 If you suspect tyou may have occupational asthma, look out for the following signs:

  • Your symptoms are worse during the week and when at work or just after work.
  • Your sleep is disrupted because of increased symptoms during the week.
  • Your symptoms improve when you’re not at work, for example when you’re on holiday or at weekends.
  • It is particularly suspicious if symptoms like hay fever, cough and wheeze appear, especially if you are a non smoker.

 Occupational asthma builds up over time and can take weeks, months or even years to develop.

Cutting saw

Major asthma triggers that can be found at work include:

  • The chemicals found in spray-paints, foam moulding, adhesives, foundry cores and surface coatings.
  • Dust from flour and grain.
  • Wood dust and shavings, especially hard wood and red cedar wood dust.
  • Fumes from glues, soldering and floor cleaners (this is known as colophony).

The following article which appeared in the "Health & Safety Times" magazine deals with work aggravated asthma and the Asthma Society’s general awareness campaigns on Asthma control and the resources the Society provides for people with Asthma.

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