Occupational asthma is asthma that is caused or worsened by breathing in chemical fumes, gases, dust or other substances at the workplace. Like other types of asthma, occupational asthma can cause chest tightness, wheezing and shortness of breath. In Ireland 35 cases of occupational respiratory disease to Surveillance of Work-Related and Occupational Respiratory Disease (SWORD), 5 from 2005-2007 whilst occupational physicians reported 82 incident cases of work-related ill-health to Occupational Physicians Reporting Activity (OPRA). Respiratory diagnoses included occupational asthma 51.4%, pneumoconiosis 20.0%, mesothelioma 8.6%, and non-malignant pleural disease 5.7%.
When treated early, occupational asthma may be reversible. Long-term exposure to allergy-causing substances can cause worsening symptoms and lifelong asthma. Treatment for occupational asthma is similar to treatment for other types of asthma, and it generally includes taking medications to reduce symptoms. But the only sure way to eliminate your symptoms and prevent lung damage due to occupational asthma is to avoid whatever's triggering it.