What is Occupational Asthma?
Type of asthma that is triggered by something in the workplace of the patient.Chemicals, vapors, gases, smoke, dust, fumes, or other particles can trigger asthma. Can also be caused by a virus (flu), molds, animal products, pollen, humidity and temperature. Another trigger may be stress. Occupational asthma tends to occur soon after the patients start a new job and vanishes not long after leaving the job.
Occupational asthma is of 2 chief types: The first one is caused by an agent that stimulates the immune system then triggers asthma (immune-mediated); and another where airways get directly irritated by the agent (irritant-induced).
Immune-mediated occupational asthma naturally has a time period (latency period) between the workplace exposure and the symptoms beginning. This period can be from a few weeks to several years. In disparity, irritant-induced occupational asthma usually, after exposure causes symptoms immediately.
An irritant-induced occupational asthma in severe form is called reactive airways dysfunction syndrome (RADS). The patient suffers a solitary exposure to a very high concentration of a toxic chemical, usually a gas. A person suffering from RADS will have breathing shortness and chest tightness severe enough to look for medical attention within 24 hours of the exposure. After the earlyimmense exposure recovery, the patient will likely have excessively responsive airways that remain “fidgety” to stimuli from the agent that caused the original symptoms or other agents. Nearly all patients with RADS will have extremely responsive airways for three months, and 50%-60% will still have exceptionally responsive airways 18 months later.