Occupational Asthma and Its Relationship to Occupational Rhinitis

  • Gianna Moscato
  • Eugenia Galdi
Part of the Allergy Frontiers book series (ALLERGY, volume 3)


Occupational asthma (OA) is a type of bronchial asthma caused by the workplace, and it accounts for 10-15% of adult asthma.

Two types of OA are distinguished: allergic OA that occurs after a latency period, and non-allergic OA characterized by the absence of a latency period, also defined as irritant-induced OA.

A wide spectrum of agents both high molecular weight proteins and low molecular weight compounds can induce OA, acting with allergic or non-allergic irritant mechanisms.

The diagnosis of OA is based on a compatible history and on the objective demonstration of bronchial asthma and of its relationship to the work. Objective testing encoppasses a combination of tools, partially different for allergic and for irritant-induced OA.

OA can lead to disability and to significant social and financial consequences, thus prevention is mandatory.

Occupational rhinitis (OR) is a type of rhinitis due to the workplace, whose burden is considered to be largely undestimated in comparison to OA.

A close relationship exists between OA and OR: the same etiological agents and mechanisms of OA are implicated in OR; in subjects with OA, symptoms of rhinitis are frequently present, and workers with OR have a greatest risk of developing OA.


Allergy Clin Immunol Occupational Asthma Natural Rubber Latex Occupational Rhinitis Specific Inhalation Challenge 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gianna Moscato
    • 1
  • Eugenia Galdi
    • 1
  1. 1.Allergy and Immunology Unit, Fondazione “Salvatore Maugeri”, Institute of Research and CareScientific Institute of PaviaItaly

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