Exposures at work can contribute to both the onset and exacerbation of asthma. This chapter summarizes key information regarding work-exacerbated asthma (WEA), a common condition that has received little attention compared to new occupational asthma. WEA refers to pre-existing or concurrent asthma that is worsened by factors at work. WEA, as with asthma in general, is heterogeneous, with multiple phenotypes and triggers. The prevalence of WEA has ranged from about 15% to over 50% among working adults with asthma in published studies, but is rarely diagnosed by clinicians. WEA occurs in a wide range of industries and occupations, including education, services, manufacturing and construction, and can lead to job changes and unemployment. Multiple factors at work can exacerbate asthma, including various irritants, allergens, molds, cold and exertion. Cleaning products and building renovation in non-industrial workplaces such as schools and offices are commonly implicated. WEA can lead to substantial adverse outcomes, similar to OA. Management of WEA should focus on reducing work exposures and optimizing standard medical management.
KeywordsAllergy Clin Immunol Asthma Symptom Asthma Exacerbation Peak Expiratory Flow Rate Occupational Asthma
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