Symptoms of Occupational Asthma

The symptoms of occupational asthma can contribute towards a seriously debilitating disease that can affect daily routines severely. Even the simplest of everyday tasks such as climbing stairs or playing with your children can be impacted greatly if you suffer from occupational asthma.

Symptoms of Asthma

There are currently thousands of people that suffer from asthma in the UK to varying degrees and with the correct treatment the condition can be managed. However, without adequate treatment, it can be a dangerous and debilitating condition that can result in asthma attacks.

An asthma attack is caused when the airways in the lung become narrowed due to swelling and inflammation of the airway lining. This narrowing then makes it harder for a sufferer to breathe because the airway is constricted. This usually results in wheezing, lack of breath, tightening of the chest and coughing.

There are certain professions that are more susceptible to their workers developing occupational asthma due to the materials being worked with so if you are in a high risk job and you are suffering from the symptoms below you should seek medical advice from a qualified medical professional.

Common symptoms associated with occupational asthma

  • Severe shortness of breath
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Tightness in the chest

The above symptoms of commonly experienced by sufferers of asthma. In cases of occupational asthma studies have shown that the following symptoms are often a pre-curser to the development of occupational asthma –

  • Rhinitis (a runny nose)
  • Conjunctivitis

These symptoms can develop at any time i.e. immediately at the time of exposure to asthma inducing substances at work or the symptoms may manifest several hours after the event so it is often difficult to ascertain whether the symptoms are a consequence of the workplace environment. If you aren’t sure you may want to ask yourself some of the simple self-diagnosis questions in the next section.

Am I suffering from occupational asthma?

In order to ascertain whether you are suffering from occupational asthma or regular asthma it is important to ask yourself whether the condition was caused or triggered by a substance or situation in which you found yourself in the workplace. The following questions can help you to make that determination.

  • Do the asthma symptoms occur when at work?
  • Are the symptoms chronic with regular occurances?
  • Do the symptoms get worse towards the end of the working week?
  • Are the symptoms lessened to any great extend when away from the workplace?

If you can answer yes to these questions it is likely that you could be suffering from a form of occupational asthma.

When making a determination as to whether one could claim compensation for occupational asthma you may need to prove that the workplace environment was the originator of the condition rather than the workplace exacerbating an existing asthma condition or childhood asthma because then it would be more difficult to prove that the environmental factors in the workplace were the actual origin of the condition developing. However, it is possible to make a claim for occupational asthma when a person has suffered from childhood asthma which has reappeared due to factors in work.

If you are concerned that you may have developed occupational asthma you will likely wish to speak to your GP to discuss your health. They will be able to help with the occupational asthma diagnosis criteria, treatment and address any questions or concerns that you may have.