Adult onset occupational asthma appears to be caused by workplace exposure to inhaled irritants in 16% of patients. The most famous example is the effects of inhaled alkaline dust on first responders from the World Trade Center (WTC) , which led to almost 20% of patients developing asthma and also sinus and eye inflammation, called rhino conjunctivitis. Nine years later, almost 40% of these patients have had a resolution of their asthma-related to the WTC exposure.
Some workplace environments have obvious irritant exposures like maintenance workers, industrial cleaners or factory workers; but others are not so obvious, such as people exposed to fabrics or textiles, hospital workers and commercial bakers. In all cases, an inhaled chemical sets off an allergic type response triggering constriction of the lower airways leading to asthma and chronic cough. Being aware of the symptoms and identifying workplace irritants may help to diagnose why an adult may have suddenly developed asthma or sinusitis.
If you or a loved one feel you may have been exposed to workplace hazards and are suffering from occupational asthma, call Lexington ENT today to schedule a consultation. To book an appointment click her or call: 212-288-2222