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Prevent Work Related Asthma

How to prevent and control work-related asthma

At times when your asthma is worse (e.g., during the allergy season if you are usually worse then, or when you have a cold) triggers at work like dust and fumes are likely to bother your asthma more. At times when you have worse asthma symptoms you may need to reduce your work exposure and/or increase your asthma medication.

If your asthma does not improve you may need to remove yourself from that work area for the duration of the allergy season. For more details, read the sections below:

Get an Early Diagnosis

If you become sensitized to a work substance, it is important to talk to your health-care provider as soon as possible. If you ignore this and keep working in the same area, then your asthma could become permanently worse and may not improve at a later date.

The best thing you can do to improve your asthma if it is caused or worsened by a work sensitizer, is with is to get it diagnosed early and to get completely away from what is causing it. Unfortunately, even low levels of exposure to work sensitizers can worsen your asthma if you are sensitive to them.

Reducing Exposures

If you are exposed to dust, fumes or other triggers for a short time, it may be possible to prevent your asthma from getting worse by wearing a proper fitting mask that is appropriate for the type of exposure (e.g., dust or fumes). You should wear this protective mask even if this is not required by your employer.

When masks (or respirators) are advised by your employer, be sure to wear them. People with asthma are more affected by irritating triggers like dust or fumes than people without asthma.

More Medication

If you are frequently exposed to triggers at your work, and you cannot reduce your exposure to the triggers, you may need more asthma medications to control your asthma.

Change of Job

If you work in jobs where there is constant or frequent exposure to triggers, such as dusts, fumes or sprays, you may have to change your job if your exposure cannot be reduced.