Asthma Management Handbook
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Table. Features of history in work-related asthma


Work-exacerbated asthma

Occupational asthma

Sensitiser-induced occupational asthma Irritant-induced occupational asthma

Onset of asthma symptoms

Before or during working life

Typically weeks to months after first exposure to sensitiser

Typically within 24 hours of major exposure to respiratory irritant

Pattern of asthma symptoms

Worse on workdays

Worse during or after work shift and improve when away from work

Persist for at least 12 weeks with no previous chronic lung disease

Other factors

Exposure to dust, smoke, fumes, cold

Exposure to known sensitiser

Exposure to large amount of respiratory irritant

Adapted from:

Hoy R, Abramson MJ, Sim MR. Work related asthma. Aust Fam Physician 2010; 39: 39-42. Available from:

Tarlo SM, Liss GM. Occupational asthma: an approach to diagnosis and management. Can Med Assoc J 2003; 168: 867-71. Available from:

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