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Is Occupational Asthma Permanent & Can You Work If You Have It?

Occupational asthma, also called work-related asthma, is a very common work-related respiratory disorder in the United Kingdom in which ingredients found in the work environment make the air passages of the respiratory organ to bulge and constricted. If you have a problem with breathing, coughing, chest congestion or abruptness of breath at work, you may have work-related asthma.

The workplace can sometimes turn hazardous for people with allergies. Asthma is a widespread cause that individuals make a claim for Social Security disability allowances. In allergic occupational asthma, studies have shown that even with medical treatment, if you continue to work whilst breathing in the substances you are allergic to, the drugs become less efficient over time and permanent asthma can ensue.

Is Occupational Asthma Permanent?

More than 5.4 million people in the UK suffer from this condition. Some workplace environments appear to rise the probability that employees will acquire the condition, but their significance is not fully recognized. Elements such as the characteristics of the substances and the extent & period of exposure are crucial.

However, because only a fraction of exposed workers are affected, factors unique to individual workers can also be important. A medical survey shows smokers are more likely than nonsmokers to develop respiratory problems in general.

Sometimes, work-related asthma signs do not exist until numerous hours after the exposure. At the onset of the disease, symptoms may subside during weekends and vacations, but exposure to an occupational irritant can cause asthma within 24 hours.1,2

Occupational asthma is frequently a revocable disorder, which indicates the signs may go away on its own when the causing agent that triggered the asthma is kept at bay. Nevertheless, permanent damage can occur if the individual incurs continued exposure.

When you want to stay away from these allergic elements avoid exposure to known environmental allergens or irritants and get help from a physician for breathing problems before they become permanent. The probable way to avoid occupational asthma is to replenish components with less dangerous substances.

Everywhere this is not happening, however, you should limit your exposure through business mechanisms such as good air circulation and enclosures of practices. Details on a safety data sheet (SDS) should record any health risks, and as well as safety management.3

Can You Work If You Have Occupational Asthma?

In both the ADA and Section 504, an individual with a debility is someone who has physical or psychological damage that genuinely restricts one or more main life events, or who is considered as experiencing such deficiencies. Asthma and allergic reaction are typically believed incapacities under the ADA.

Occupational asthma may lead to lasting respiratory impairment, loss of workdays, debility, or even mortality. The good news is that initial identification and therapy of occupational asthma can result in a better health effect.

A trustworthy identification of Occupational asthma should be verified by objective assessment early after its inception. Exclusion of the employee from exposure to the underlying cause and medication with inhaled glucocorticoids result in an expected outcome. Ultimately, approaches for thwarting Occupational asthma should be employed and their cost-effectiveness studied.

Although there is enhanced awareness about the condition and improvement in the advanced new treatment alternatives exist, the severity of these diseases and the healthcare costs associated with their treatment are still rising. Clearly, a need exists to update and disseminate clinical guidelines for these diseases.

When you avoid exposure to allergenic components, most patients will have an improvement in their asthma over a span of months to years, but it is rare that occupational asthma will completely go away.4,5


  1. Occupational Asthma | Johns Hopkins Medicine https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/asthma/occupational-asthma
  2. Occupational Asthma is a Big Problem but it Can be Controlled https://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/library/asthma-library/occupational-asthma
  3. Occupational asthma – causes, treatment and prevention https://fitforwork.org/blog/occupational-asthma/
  4. Management and Treatment of Reversible Airway Disease https://www.ajmc.com/journals/supplement/2004/2004-07-vol10-n5suppl/jul04-1829ps127-s128
  5. Do You Have Work-Related Asthma? – A Guide for YOU and YOUR DOCTOR https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3707.pdf

Also Read:

Sheetal DeCaria, M.D.
Sheetal DeCaria, M.D.
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Sheetal DeCaria, M.D. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:February 6, 2020

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