Occupational illnesses

Workers avoid talking to doctors about job-related asthma, NIOSH says


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Morgantown, WV – Few workers who have asthma talk with their doctor about how their job may affect the condition, a recent NIOSH study suggests.

NIOSH researchers analyzed data from more than 50,000 working adults who have asthma. They found that only 15 percent of participants talked with their doctor about how work might affect their asthma. Nearly half of participants (46 percent) had asthma that was possibly work-related.

Workers may hesitate to talk to a doctor about their asthma because they believe “nothing can be done” or fear losing their job, researchers said in a Feb. 3 press release.

Workplace exposures that cause or aggravate asthma include chemicals, dust, fumes and insects, according to the press release. Continual exposure can result in permanent lung issues, and early testing and removal of exposures are crucial. An allergist can conduct testing, determine exposures and help a worker manage his or her condition.

The study was published online Dec. 6 in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

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