Occupational asthma is defined as a form of asthma that is generally caused by immunological sensitization to a (specific) agent inhaled at work. In the latter case, the presentation of occupational asthma may resemble that of allergen-induced occupational asthma because the worker may have been able to work for some time without experiencing respiratory symptoms (i.e. there has been a symptom-free latency period). ‘Asthma-like’ disorders without evidence of sensitisation are also found in workers exposed to (endotoxin-contaminated) vegetable dusts (e.g. byssinosis in cotton workers, asthma-like syndrome in swine confinement workers).
Occupational asthma (OA) is the most common work-related disease in industrialized countries. In 2008, only 556 cases of OA had been diagnosed in Spain. The prevention and treatment of occupational asthma requires environmental interventions, including education on behavioral changes to avoid asthma triggers, along with drug therapies and careful medical follow-up. Whether you can avoid the things that trigger or worsen your asthma at work will depend on where you work and what you do there.