Occupational asthma is asthma caused by, or worsened by, exposure to substances in the workplace. Symptoms of occupational asthma include general symptoms of an asthma attack, such as coughing, wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath, and breathing difficulty. Eye irritation, nasal congestion, runny nose may also be present. As stated previously, this can be allergy-related or an irritant reaction from exposure to asthma triggers in the workplace.
Occupational asthma is caused by inhaling fumes, gases, dust or other potentially harmful substances while at work place. Irritants in high doses that induce occupational asthma include hydrochloric acid, sulfur dioxide or ammonia, which is found in the petroleum or chemical industries. If exposed to any of these substances at high concentrations, wheezing and experiencing other asthma symptoms immediately after exposure occurs. Workers who already have asthma or some other respiratory disorder may also experience an increase in their symptoms during exposure to these irritants. The prevalence of occupational asthma in Russia is 1.1% in 0-14 year old children and 1.8% in 15-17 year old adolescents. Occupational asthma can be treated the same as regular asthma, with inhaled medicines called bronchodilators that open (dilate) the airways as well as inhaled anti-inflammatory medicines (glucocorticoids). However, the most important intervention is to avoid any further exposure.