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Asthma and Laboratory Chemicals


I've been working in a chemical laboratory for a couple of years. I have noticed that every time I get a cold, during and for some time after that I can start coughing uncontrollably when exposed to organic solvents. It is nothing life threatening, more of an inconvenience really. I work with a lot of organic solvents like xylene, methyl isobutyl ketone, and isopropyl alcohol. Whenever I happen to inhale some of the solvent vapours I get the urge to cough. This usually only happens after I've had the flu or cold.

It feels kind of like convulsions in the chest. I am worried because I've heard that this is a symptom of an asthma attack. I've never been diagnosed with asthma. None of my parents or relatives have either. I am wondering if this should be a cause for concern.

Thank you.
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942934 tn?1268108382
Hi, I work in a lab too and know of people who've become allergic to specific chemicals that they work with on a regular basis. Some people acquire occupational asthma due to continuous exposure to certain substances. I would certainly suggest you check it out with your doctor as it is best to deal with occupational asthma early on, as sometimes with years of prolonged exposure you can damage your lungs. But regardless, it's good to find out if you have occupational asthma or not, just based on your symptoms. If it isn't asthma then it could be the fumes are irritating your airways, which are overly sensitive due to the cold virus. I hope this helps. As I have asthma I'm always concerned about not further damaging them with anything nasty from the lab that I'm working with. Better to be safe then sorry.
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168348 tn?1379357075
Hi, I'd certainly have it checked out and when it's happening get a PFT test at your dr to ascertain if it's stemming from the lung and asthma.   Just my two cents.  WELCOME to the our Community.  Maybe some others will jump on in too!

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