Adult-Onset Asthma: The Workplace Could Be the Culprit
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Stanley Goldstein, MD, who gave his objective review of these results,
agrees. "In any adult-onset asthma or re-exacerbation of asthma, there's no
question that one of the things you have to look for is exacerbating events or
precipitating events. Clinicians really have to gear their questions to look
for occupational causes, as well as other possible causes for asthma," he
Goldstein, who is the director of Allergy and Asthma Care of Long Island,
N.Y., tells WebMD that the highest index of suspicion should be saved for
patients who work with biological entities such as animals, plants, and
insects; those who work in homes, such as electricians, plumbers, and other
repair workers; and people who work with chemicals. Another occupational
allergen is latex, which often comes into play with health care workers, notes
Goldstein, who is also a spokesperson for the American Academy of Allergy,
Asthma, and Immunology.
- Of those who experience adult-onset asthma, about 10% of cases are a result
of allergens encountered in the workplace, a number much higher than previously
- Occupational asthma can develop quickly in patients, or may take several
years, making the link to the workplace more difficult.
- People who work with biological entities (such as plants, animals, and
insects), work in homes, or work with chemicals should be especially suspicious
if they develop asthma as an adult.