Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Occupational Asthma

Are you often getting sick at your job? Answer the following questions in yes and no. If your answer is yes to any one of them, then you may be suffering from Occupational asthma:1. Do you experience coughing, wheezing or shortness of breath at work?2. Do you have itchy red eyes or running nose at work? 3. Does the problem goes when you are away from work and comes back when you return to work? Occupational asthma is a respiratory disease caused by the exposure to a trigger at the work place (be it dust, gases, vapors, fumes or chemicals). When inhaled these triggers irritate the airways and may cause Coughing, sneezing, chest tightness, pain in chest, difficulty in breathing. Skin, eye and other allergies may also be present along with asthma. Occupational Asthma is the most common occupational lung disease in most part of the world. It is responsible for 2 % to 15 % of the asthma prevalence. The frequency varies widely between different occupations and within industry at different level of exposure.Generally two types of asthma attack occur: Without latency occupational asthma attack brought on immediately by exposure to extremely high levels of irritant gases such as ammonia, sulfur dioxide, chlorine. This is also known as Reactive Airways Dysfunction Syndrome (RADS) With latency (Long term sensitization ) Person develops an allergy from continuous exposure to a specific substance, sometimes over the period of months and years. Symptoms of OA occur when body develops allergic response to that specific substance (trigger).Due to exposure to the occupational asthma triggers attack is precipitated. The walls of the airways become inflamed and swollen. Lot of mucous is secreted blocking the airways. This makes it difficult for the air to be exhaled or pushed out of the lungs.Industries at risk for Occupational asthma: Most of the triggers are found widely in almost all industries and work places. But not every one will develop asthma after exposure to them. Some people are more susceptible to asthma than others. OA is more common in susceptible individual working in following industries: Chemical industry Rubber industry Electronic industry Plastic industry Textile industry Oil refining Welding Painting Dyeing Printing Metalworking Baking and food processing Cleaning Laboratory work Gardening, landscaping Horticulture Working with animals--Shraddha Baijal is editor of

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