Treating Occupational Asthma

After having read our occupational asthma symptoms and causes pages if you believe that you may have a case of occupational asthma it is important that you seek the advice of a qualified medical practitioner for their considered advice.

Two very important aspects for prevention and mitigation of the disease is through reducing exposure to harmful substances that might have caused the asthma condition and also removing yourself entirely from the workplace environment that may have caused the asthma. By obtaining an early diagnosis of occupational asthma you will be able to reduce your exposure and remove yourself from the workplace situation as soon as possible.

Occupational asthma cases are often not diagnosed correctly because doctors rarely ask the sufferer whether asthmatic symptoms are related to work. A study in the United States suggested that around 15% ask this important question, so if you believe that there might be a link between work conditions and a possible asthmatic condition it is important to relay this information to the medical professional.

Diagnosing occupational asthma

There are a number of different stages to the diagnosis of occupational asthma which all take place over time.

  • A person with a suspected case of occupational asthma should be asked to perform serial peak flow measurements several times per day. This should be conducted for at least 3 weeks and it should be conducted both in work and outside of work.
  • Skin prick tests to check for allergen reactions.
  • IgE (Immunoglobulin E) antibody tests.

If there is any uncertainty in the diagnosis of occupational asthma the medical professional should refer a patient to a specialist in occupational lung diseases for further examination.

Treatments

Managing the work environment is a large part of treating occupational asthma. By reducing exposure and/or removing entirely the harmful substances, the condition can be managed.

Inhalers are often used in the treatment of occupational asthma as they are an effective mechanism for getting the asthma medicine directly into the lungs. Inhalers are similar to small pressurised deodorant cans or air fresheners. You will usually press a button whilst inhaling the medicine at the same time. Some are not pressurised canisters, rather you press a button to burst a capsule and inhale the powder.

It is not uncommon to use a spacer in conjunction with an inhaler as this can help to improve the levels of medicine that enters the lungs. Nebulizers can also be used for moderate or mild cases.

When occupational asthma is severe or the sufferer is undergoing an asthma attack oxygen can be used to help with symptoms.