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Occupational asthma is asthma that's caused or worsened by breathing in a workplace irritant, such as chemical fumes, gases or dust. Like other types of asthma, occupational asthma can cause symptoms, such as chest tightness, wheezing and shortness of breath.
Asthma is a chronic (long-term, ongoing) inflammation of the breathing passages (bronchi) of the lungs. The inflammation irritates the airway, causing breathing problems. Most people with asthma have sudden attacks or periods of bothersome or severe symptoms separated by periods of mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. Asthma is an inflammatory reaction that is triggered by external factors or specific situations. When a person with asthma is exposed to one of his or her triggers, the inflammation worsens and symptoms ensue. Occupational asthma is a breathing (respiratory) disease caused by exposure to a trigger in the workplace. The list of known triggers is long and varied. The trigger generally is something inhaled. Occupational asthma can occur in almost any line of work or any work environment, including offices, stores, hospitals, and medical facilities. Triggers include contaminants in the air, such as smoke, chemicals, vapors (gases), fumes, dust, or other particles, respiratory infections, such as colds and flu (viruses), allergens in the air, such as molds, animal dander, and pollen, extremes of temperature or humidity, and emotional excitement or stress. Two types of occupational asthma attacks occur. Aggravation of preexisting asthma: This is by far the most common type. Over time, with regular exposure, you develop hypersensitivity to the trigger. With this underlying asthma, continued exposure to the trigger causes attacks. Irritant asthma: Exposure to certain substances or conditions in the workplace irritates the airways, with immediate symptoms. Although this is not an allergic-type reaction, the irritation may cause allergylike or asthmalike symptoms. Once the attack is triggered, the airways begin to swell and tighten (bronchospasm) and secrete large amounts of mucus. The swelling and extra mucus partially block, or obstruct, the airways. This makes it more difficult to push air out of your lungs (exhale). Because of this, asthma is referred to as a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), like emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Unlike other types of COPD, asthma is reversible. It cannot be cured, but it can be controlled by medication. You have a better chance of controlling your asthma if it is diagnosed early and treatment begun right away. With proper treatment, you can have fewer and less severe attacks. Without treatment, you will have more frequent and more severe attacks. You can even die from a severe asthma attack. Early recognition and avoidance of the trigger is particularly important in occupational asthma. Because people spend so much time at work, they tend to have extensive exposure to their trigger by the time the cause of the symptoms is recognized as asthma. The more time you spend exposed to your trigger, the more likely you are to have permanent lung inflammation and airway hypersensitivity. Occupational asthma is the most common work-related lung disease in developed countries. In up to 15% of people with asthma in the United States, the condition is at least partly related to their work.
The American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc.
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Preventing Occupational Exposures to Antineoplastic and Other Hazardous Drugs in Health Care Settings. NIOSH Alert 2004-165. OSHA Technical Manual, TED 1-0.15A, Section VI: Chapter 2. Controlling Occupational Exposure to Hazardous Drugs. OSHA, 1999. http://www.osha.gov/dts/osta/otm/otm_vi/otm_vi_2.html American Society of Health-System Pharmacists. ASHP guidelines on handling hazardous drugs. Am J Health-Syst Pharm. (2006) 63:1172-1193. Polovich, M., White, J. M., & Kelleher, L.O. (eds.) 2005....
TNOTA | Tennessee Occupational Therapy Association
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WebMD examines occupational therapy as part of a treatment plan for autism. Find out what occupational therapy is and how it can help someone with autism.
Occupational Therapy - Occupational Therapists - Occupational ...
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