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Your workplace could be placing you at risk of asthma

Posted in: General Health 25 Jan, 2013

Asthma is becoming progressively more common and affects 1 in every 11 children and 1 in every 12 adults in the UK, according the NHS Over the years many different possible causes for this condition have been identified. Cigarette smoke seems to be one of the most criminal asthma-causing elements in our environment, but now research is showing that there may be many more hidden dangers in our surrounding environment that we should be paying attention to.

Asthma is a chronic respiratory condition that can cause a person to experience symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, difficulty breathing & tight chest. People who have asthma will most likely be using a daily treatment to prevent asthma symptoms, which can be extremely uncomfortable and can result in serious asthma attacks. Along with asthma treatment, an asthma sufferer will also need to steer clear of many triggers in their environment.

Growing asthma numbers

Although many people are born with asthma in childhood and are unlikely to ‘outgrow it’, some people tend to develop the infection when they become adults and this is known as adult onset asthma. The majority of research tends to indicate that this condition is largely the influence of environmental factors on the body.

The growing number of adults with asthma, according to science, we can’t just attribute to smoking and general air pollution, but seems to also come down to elements in our everyday lives, even those that we face at work. According to the research, those who were most at risk of developing asthma from their jobs where people who came in regular contact with cleaning products, flour, enzymes, metals and textiles.

The study

At the top of the list of 18 occupations, the four jobs that appeared to have a significant link to asthma was hotel cleaners, doorkeepers, manufacturing labourers and hand packers. However, farmers appeared to be four times more likely than office workers to have asthma.

The figures were derived from information that was compiled over the course of 15 years. This study on occupational asthma has revealed that there are other daily situations in which employees face the risk of developing reparatory related problems and may require a review of how employees perform their tasks.

Could change future asthma management plan

Doctors may also have to take into consideration what their patients did for a living when helping them devise the best way to treat their asthma if they already have it. This may be very important for a patient’s asthma management plan, which details what a patient should do in the event of an asthma attack and triggers to avoid.

Currently lots is being done to ensure that asthma triggers are identified to ensure better asthma treatment, but studies such as these are also important as they could help us identify those triggers that can lead to adult-onset asthma, allowing governments to help employers take the right precautionary steps to protect the long term health of their employees. The more we know about asthma, the better we can identify the elements in our environment that is placing us at risk.

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