Occupational Air Quality and Lung Health

“In cases of adult asthma, if you forget that killer question… ‘What do you do for a job?’ then you are probably placing that patient at a significant disadvantage… You have to be sat in front of a health care professional who actually appreciates that the workplace can harm you.” So says Professor David Fishwick of the University of Sheffield in “Healthy Lungs for Life – Occupational air quality and lung health,” a video by the European Respiratory Society. Professor Guy Brusselle of Ghent University Hospital points out that we spend 1/3 of our lives in the workplace; therefore, we have to breathe healthy air on the job in order to maintain optimal lung function and prevent the development of occupational lung diseases.

In this interesting video, several patients, academicians, and medical professionals discuss the phenomenon of sensitization, in which a person is exposed repeatedly to a pollutant or irritant agent, typically on the job, and after a period of time develops sensitivity to the agent in the form of an allergic reaction or asthma. Anything from harsh chemicals to flour can cause damage to the lungs with repeated exposure.

“There is indeed a risk,” says Dr. Brusselle, “to misdiagnose or to miss the diagnosis of an occupation asthma, and then of course the worker will be further exposed to the occupational agent.” This can result in the asthma becoming more severe and uncontrolled, creating the need for more serious treatment of the disease later on, that could have been prevented or at least not exacerbated, had the cause been determined earlier.

For more information, watch the video below: