How to prevent occupational asthma?Industries and environments whose employees have a heightened exposure to substances known to cause occupational asthma can take measures to diminish or eliminate the amount of pollution in the atmosphere or decrease the number of
workers exposed to it.
Regular medical screening of workers in these environments may enable doctors to diagnose occupational asthma before permanent lung damage takes place. Reduction in exposure to the occupational trigger is the most important step that can be taken along with appropriate medical management. Even with appropriate medications, continued exposure may make the asthma more difficult to control.
OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration) is a government agency that has created guidelines that determine acceptable levels of exposure to substances that may cause asthma. Employers are required to follow these rules.
Persons at increased risk because of a family or personal history of allergy or asthma should be aware of potential hazards of entering trades with obvious hazards and seek advice. Periodic medical surveillance may allow early identification of affected workers before they have any permanent lung damage.
If a worker begins to have asthma symptoms due to occupational exposure, the disease usually can be reversed and permanent lung damage prevented by changing jobs. Sometimes, a transfer to a different location within the same plant is helpful. Because changing jobs may cause a severe financial hardship, such a recommendation should be made only after careful medical evauation.