Managing Asthma at Work
Asthma can post a problem in the workplace, considering many jobs involve working with or near asthma triggers. But thanks to improved work environments and better asthma treatment, people with asthma can participate in various occupations without major troubles.
Here are six tips for managing asthma at work.
1. Get your asthma under control. This can be accomplished by seeing an asthma doctor at least once a year and taking your asthma controller medicine exactly as prescribed. Learn how to gain good control of your asthma.
2. Find an asthma-safe job. While good asthma control should allow most asthmatics to work just about any jobs, some asthmatics–especially those with severe asthma–may have to be more cautious. Thankfully, the modern world has created some jobs that come with an asthma-friendly environment.
3. Avoid asthma unfriendly jobs. While farming may have been the most common job for most of history, it’s simply not an ideal job for asthmatics. If you have outdoor allergies or severe asthma, you may want to avoid jobs that come with asthma triggers and that may make your asthma worse.
4. Have quick access to an albuterol inhaler. Albuterol is a rescue inhaler that is relatively inexpensive, small, compact, and easily stored in a pocket, purse, or desk drawer. All asthmatics should have one nearby at all times to treat those inevitable flare-ups.
5. Have an asthma action plan for work. If you’re having a flare-up at work, and your albuterol inhaler doesn’t seem to be working, it’s a good idea to have a back-up plan to help you decide what action to take. Should a second dose of albuterol be taken? Should a doctor be called? Should an ambulance be called? An asthma action plan should make answering these questions easy.
6. Tell a co-worker you have asthma. When working with a disease like asthma, it’s essential this information be shared with a co-worker. This person should be someone trustworthy and capable of helping when flare-ups occur. This person should know the location of your asthma action plan and how to use it.
For most of history asthma often posed as a barrier to a normal functioning life, and limited a person’s ability to function at work. Thankfully, the modern world has created an environment that allows asthmatics to live a normal life, and to function well in the work setting. Still, the thing with asthma is inevitable flare-ups may occur from time to time. By planning ahead and being prepared, these challenges may be easily handled so you can go on with daily routine.
John Bottrell is a registered Respiratory Therapist. He wrote for HealthCentral as a health professional for Asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).