Occupational Asthma

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Treatment of occupational asthma
The goals of treatment are same as with asthma of any other cause:

  • To prevent chronic and troublesome symptoms.

  • To carry on with normal daily activities.

  • To maintain normal or near normal lung function.

  • To have fewer medication side effects.

  • According to NHLBI, asthma therapy has following components:

         1.Patient education.
    2.Control of factors contributing to severity.
    3.Drug therapy.
    4.Access the severity of disease and monitor the therapy.

    The keystone of effective treatment is cessation of further exposure to the offending agent.

    However this is not always possible. In mild OA, avoiding the exposure to the triggers relieves the symptoms. You may be advised to wear mask or respirator during work.
    In moderate disease avoiding triggers and medication are usually helpful.
    In severe OA people may be required to consider switching to different job where the particular allergen is not present.

    Patient education:

    Patient education is an integral part of the asthma therapy. It should begin as soon as asthma is diagnosed and should be integrated in every step of the asthma management plan. Patient should ask their treating doctor about the written asthma treatment (action) plan.

    Monitoring the asthma:

    Periodic assessment and monitoring asthma in patients is a important part of any asthma management plan. There are two ways of monitoring asthma in patients, Periodic assessment by the treating doctor and self assessment by the patient himself. The patient should know when the asthma is controlled and when it is worsening.  Monitoring asthma should include:

    A peak flow meter

    peak flow meter is a device used to measure how well the air move out of the lungs. Airways narrow during the asthma episode causing decreased air flow.  The peak flow meter can measure these changes and can warn about the imminent asthma attack days or even weeks before it actually happen. Peak flow readings can help patients recognize if asthma is properly controlled or not.

    A diary
    Patient should keep a diary to record his daily asthma symptoms and the environmental factors that bring on the asthma attack or make the symptoms worse. He should note what work he was doing when the attack was precipitated. The exposure of chemical agent before attack.


    There are two types of drug therapies:
    1.Oral  therapy.
    2.Inhaled therapy.

    Oral medication include tablets and capsules of bronchodilators like salbutamol, terbutaline, theophyllines, newer medicines like leukotriene pathway inhibitors (zafirlukast, montelukast, zileuton). Anti inflammatory medications include predisolone, methylprednesolone etc.

    Inhaled medication includes reliever and preventer medication.

    Reliever medications are those which are given for immediate relief and control of the asthma symptoms. They include short acting (salbutamol, terbutaline, bitolterol, pirbuterol) and long acting (formaterol, Salmeterol) bronchodilators.

    Preventer medicines are anti inflammatory agents given to reverse the pathological process causing asthma. They include triamcinolone, fluticasone, budesonide, beclomethasone.

    Last edited 22-08-2010

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