Background Work related asthma (WRA) is a common condition and is under recognised in Australia.
Work related asthma refers to the development of new asthma due to occupational
factors (occupational asthma) and the worsening of asthma control due to occupational
factors (work exacerbated asthma).
Objective This article discusses the diagnosis and management of work related asthma in
Discussion All clinicians who treat adult patients with asthma should enquire about the patient’s
occupation. Key features of WRA include: a temporal association between asthma
symptoms and work activities (especially an improvement in symptoms when away from
the workplace), identification of relevant workplace exposures (eg. use of a known cause
of occupational asthma) and the development of respiratory symptoms in coworkers.
Optimal management of WRA requires early recognition and accurate diagnosis.
Increased awareness of WRA and the introduction of effective workplace control should
reduce the prevalence of WRA and the overall burden of asthma in our community.
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