If your living with asthma you might be worried about how to manage it while at work, or how it could affect getting a job. The good news is, most people living with asthma should be able to work without any issue. But if you have any concerns, we have put together a short guide covering all you need to know about managing asthma at work.
Applying for jobs:
According to Asthma UK you should be able to do almost any job without an issue. But there are a few exceptions, including working in the armed forces or for the Fire Brigade.
When considering applying for a job, it’s best to consider whether you might come into contact with any of your triggers during the day. As these could make your asthma symptoms worse. For example, if you find pollen is one of your triggers you might not want to work in a garden centre or around too many plants. If you’re not sure what triggers your asthma, here’s our common asthma trigger list.
Asthma at work:
When you’re at work It’s important to know your triggers, as some workplaces can expose you to irritants such as fumes, dust, or certain chemicals; as well as cold air, physical activity or stress. Once you know them, talk to your employer to work out a plan to avoid any triggers that are making your symptoms worse.
You can also discuss any patterns of symptoms and/or use of inhaler(s) when you are at work with your GP or asthma nurse to see if they are linked, and they can advise you what to do if they are.
You should also be prepared for an asthma attack by making sure you have your reliever inhaler (usually blue) with you and it’s easily accessible. You could also give a photocopy of your asthma action plan to some colleagues, so they are prepared in case of an emergency, and get to know your first aider.
Occupational Asthma is where you have developed asthma because of where you work. This is caused by breathing in substances at work such as dust, chemicals, fumes and animal fur. According to Asthma UK around one in ten cases of adult onset asthma are related to the workplace. Unlike pre-existing asthma, the symptoms of occupation asthma can go away if they’re identified quickly and you stop being exposed to the trigger.
To find out more about, Asthma UK have an extensive guide on occupational asthma.