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figure with microscope of cells, fumes

Immune Diseases

Inputs: Occupational Safety and Health Risks

Impaired immune function can result in uncontrolled inflammation or increased susceptibility to diseases. Allergic conditions are exaggerated immune responses to substances often found in the workplace. Areas of interest to be explored will include: health risks due to employment in mold-contaminated workplaces; allergic rhinitis and sinusitis from occupational allergen exposures; the impact of occupational exposures to chemicals on normal immune function; and the identification of allergens in the workplace imposing significant health risks to workers in various sectors and industries.

Millions of people suffer from allergies with allergic rhinitis being one of the most common, affecting up to 30% of the population and resulting in billions of dollars in loss of workplace productivity. Asthma is one of the more serious problems that can be caused by work-related allergy. Work-related asthma comprises 15% - 23% of new onset asthma cases in adults. It can cause recurrent attacks of symptoms such as wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath, and coughing. In severe cases, these symptoms can be disabling. Fortunately, when potential hazards are recognized, work-related allergies and asthma can often be prevented or their effects minimized.