How can I tell if my job is causing occupational asthma?

Difficult diagnosis. If you have bronchospasm which gets better on days off and increases while at work, you may have occupational asthma. But, it is quite difficult to prove. Peak flows which consistently drop while at work but improves when off is another indicator. Sometimes, it takes a week vacation to see that it does indeed improve when off work since you can have late-phase reaction to a work allergen.
Testing. There are many ways to help make that determination. Depending on your job, there are tests to determine if your body has been exposed to certain chemicals. Lung function testing can measure any effect of these chemicals, and blood testing can identify antibodies against the chemicals as well. It's also important to note your symptoms when you're away from work. If they improve, that's key.

Related Questions

What should you do if diagnosed with occupational asthma due to allergies to laboratory animals.?

AVOID. The best thing would be to work in a different lab without exposure to the animals. If not possible, the asthma is treated with anti-inflammatory, preventative medications and bronchodilators as in all asthma patients. Read more...
Avoid. Avoid lab animals, pets, or anything else that triggers your occupational asthma. People with occupational disease tend to do very well when they find another line of work. If you can not, for some reason, do so, try working with an allergist to get desensatized - but this is usually difficult for occupational disease. Read more...
Seek treatment. Allergy to lab animals can be treated with symptomatic treatments like bronchodilator and steroid inhalers as well as allergic desensitization, typically performed by an allergist after allergy testing is done. See your doctor for evaluation and treatment so you can hopefully keep your job! Read more...

What's occupational asthma?

See below. Asthma that you can get from your occupational exposures. Sometimes the occupational exposures can induce asthma that you haven't had before, which is the true occupational asthma, or exposures can just trigger your pre-existing asthma. Read more...
Work related. Asthma that is caused by workplace exposure that is worse when working and better on weekends or vacations. Read more...
Asthma from work exp. There are many different exposures that can cause asthma or reactive airways. Things from chemicals in the workplace to certain small particles, and even sawdust can irritate the airways in the lungs to the point that they become sensitized and then start to spasm. If you have difficulty breathing at work you should see an occupational physician to be evaluated since asthma can be very serious. Read more...