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Occupational Health Branch

Occupational Health Watch: May 2019

Work-Related Asthma in the ER

A worker wearing a gown, hair covering, full face covering, and gloves washes her hands in a sink.Most people who go to work don't expect to end up at the emergency room for asthma. According to a Work-Related Asthma Prevention Program (WRAPP) pilot study, an estimated 1 in 4 adults who wound up in the ER for asthma in 2016 were there because of their exposures from work.

The study also found that 60% of people surveyed by phone after ER visits experienced asthma symptoms due to work at some point in their lives.

During Asthma Awareness Month in May, workplaces can share information in multiple languages about preventing work-related asthma by decreasing or eliminating exposures. Examples include having a fragrance-free policy, using asthma-safer cleaning products, cleaning with microfiber, and minimizing wood dust in the air.

Photo: Hospital workers can be exposed to disinfectants that can trigger or cause asthma.


Work-Related Asthma Prevention Program (WRAPP) - OHB website

Cleaning Products, Disinfectants, and Work-Related Asthma - OHB topic page

Fragrances and Work-Related Asthma - OHB topic page

Pool Chemicals and Work-Related Asthma - OHB topic page

Wood Dust and Work-Related Asthma - OHB topic page

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