Tarlo SM, Liss GM.
Current Allergy and Asthma Reports 2010; 10:278-286.
Prevention of occupational asthma related to a work-sensitizing agent ideally would be achieved by avoidance of exposures that cause immunologic sensitization and subsequent asthma. There are a few examples in which a sensitizing agent has been removed from a work process and others in which exposure has been significantly changed or reduced with associated reduced rates of sensitization and disease. Additional measures include containment, use of robots, ventilation measures, exposure monitoring, and use of respiratory protective devices. Secondary prevention includes medical surveillance, which may involve periodic respiratory questionnaires, spirometry, and immunologic tests aiming to detect sensitization or disease early to allow intervention and improve outcomes. Education measures for workers to understand the meaning of work-related respiratory symptoms and appropriate workplace safety measures have not been formally evaluated but may also be expected to enhance protective measures and lead to earlier diagnosis. Tertiary prevention includes medical management and workers’ compensation.