Asthma - occupational exposure; Irritant-induced reactive airways disease
Symptoms are usually due to swelling of the airways and spasms of the muscles lining the airways. This reduces the amount of air that can pass through, and can lead to wheezing sounds. See also: Asthma
Symptoms usually occur shortly after you are exposed to the substance, and often improve or go away when you leave work. Some people may not have symptoms until 12 or more hours after being exposed to the allergen.
Symptoms usually get worse toward the end of the work week and may (but not always) go away on weekends or vacations.
In general, symptoms include:
The health care provider will perform a physical exam and ask questions about your medical history. Your symptoms may have a pattern of getting worse with a certain workplace environment or substance.
The health care provider may hear wheezing when listening to the chest with a stethoscope.
The following tests may be used to diagnose this condition:
Chan-Yeung M, Malo JL. Asthma in the workplace and occupational asthma. In: Mason RJ, Broaddus VC, Martin TR, et al. Murray & Nadel's Textbook of Respiratory Medicine. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2010:chap 64.
Cowl CT. Occupational asthma: review of assessment, treatment, and compensation. Chest. 2011;139(3):674-681.
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