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Occupational Asthma: How Can Air Conditioning Help?

Asthma is a long-term and hugely widespread condition – over 5 million people suffer from it in the UK alone. It affects the airways, which can get inflamed in response to certain triggers, narrowing and making it difficult to breathe. Symptoms include wheezing, coughing or a tight feeling in the chest. One type of asthma is known as occupational asthma – but the good news is that air conditioning can help.

What Is Occupational Asthma?

women using asthma inhaler

Essentially, people who have occupational asthma can be split into two categories: those who’ve developed the condition as a direct result of the work they do, and those who already had asthma but it’s been made worse through work. (This second type is technically known as work aggravated asthma.) Occupational asthma is an underreported type of the condition, making up between 9% and 15% of cases in adults. In some industries, up to 10% of employees regularly develop asthma, sometimes as a result of poor ventilation or air conditioning systems.

Manufacturing is a good general example of one of these industries. Employees who work in vehicle spray painting, soldering or engineering can all be exposed to chemicals and fumes that can eventually lead to the development of chronic asthma conditions. Baking and woodworking are amongst the several others that can leave workers vulnerable to occupational asthma too, as both expose workers to high levels of dust from flour and wood. In some cases, these asthma cases grow severe enough that workers have to leave their jobs, either finding another position within the company or switching industries altogether.

How Can An Air Conditioning System Help?

fitting air conditioning

One of the many ways that air conditioning (and good ventilation) systems can help cut down on cases of occupational asthma is by keeping a good flow of air throughout the room. This prevents dust and fumes from gathering for too long in the air, minimising the amount of exposure for employees and drastically reducing the chances of developing asthma cases. The human body is mostly capable of processing these substances in small amounts – it’s just larger quantities over long periods of time that can lead to irritations, allergies and eventually asthma.

Another reason why air conditioning helps to prevent the development of the condition is by actively purifying the air. As the system draws in air to cool, it removes pollutants as it does so. Amongst these pollutants are harmful allergy-causing mites. In this way, air conditioning can help mitigate the potential harmful effects of fumes and dust.

At Askews, the knowledge and expertise of our engineers is second to none. We maintain hundreds of systems across the UK, ensuring that schools, offices and institutions alike are safe, clean and comfortable places to be. You can click here to read more about the work we do for specific sectors, or alternatively you can call us on 01282 863 825 and get a free quote today.

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