What Causes Occupational Asthma?
Allergic occupational asthma is the most common type of work-related asthma and is triggered by exposure to asthmagens in the workplace. These cause changes in your airways, making them hypersensitive and then triggering a reaction in those airways. It does take a while for your immune system to become sensitised, so you may have been working for weeks or many months before you begin to have symptoms.
Examples of Workplace Substances Causing Occupational Asthma are:
- Isocyanates – found in paint spraying (typically in 2-pack paints)
- Flour dust in bakeries and flour mills
- Wood dust in joinery and furniture industries
- Animal aeroallergens from working with animals
- Metal working fluids in engineering.
What is Asthma?
Asthma is a condition that affects your airways, the small tubes that carry the air in and out of the lungs. The symptoms caused by the narrowing of these airways make breathing difficult and result in wheezing, coughing and/or a tightness of the chest.
Asthma may be a constitutional condition, occurring without any external cause and simply because of genetic factors. Indeed, you may think of asthma as a condition that starts in childhood. However, it’s also quite common for people to be diagnosed with asthma for the first time in adulthood - this is known as late onset asthma.