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Preventing Occupational Respiratory Disease

Information Pertinent to the Client’s Case

The patient in the case under consideration suffers from a respiratory disease that occurs several times during the year. Also, there is no evident connection to season change. The patient does not confirm the major cause of respiratory disease, which is tobacco consumption, because she does not smoke. Therefore, the most probable reason for the patient’s regular condition is the environment. It was revealed that the patient has been working for a local law firm for nine years and has had the respiratory disease for seven years. The office of her company, unlike her home, is located in a building that is more than one hundred years old. Therefore, it can be moisture-damaged and result in diverse respiratory symptoms of its occupants (Park, Cho, White, & Cox-Ganser, 2018). Also, the study by Park et al. (2018) reveals no connection of respiratory symptoms to a specific season, which corresponds to the situation in the case.

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Assessment of the Client’s Risk

In case the client continues working at the same office in an old building, she is at an increased risk for developing more serious conditions than respiratory illness. One of the serious respiratory conditions is asthma. Specialists agree that environmental respiratory conditions and allergies are the primary cause of asthma (“The top 8 respiratory illnesses and diseases,” 2018). Also, as the client gets older, the risk of developing pneumonia increase as well. Although pneumonia is an infectious disease and is not directly related to the environment, in the client’s case warm and wet climate in an old building can contribute to infection development.

According to the Institute of Medicine (as cited in Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2013, p. 8), “there is an association between exposure to damp indoor environments and cough, wheeze, upper respiratory tract (nasal and throat) symptoms, and exacerbation of asthma.” Moreover, dump environments contain mold and bacteria that are associated with hypersensitivity pneumonitis. The World Health Organization supports these claims and states that individuals living or working in dump buildings are at increased risk of developing upper and lower respiratory tract symptoms such as cough and wheeze, as well as respiratory infections, asthma, and exacerbation of asthma (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2013). Another risk of people exposed to mold and dampness is having bronchitis and allergic rhinitis.

Exposure Pathway of the Client

The client is exposed to the impact of the environment specific to a one-hundred-year-old building. As a rule, such buildings lack proper ventilation and are damp. In fact, many office buildings, schools, or other non-industrial buildings frequently develop moisture and dampness problems (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2013). They are caused by leaks from roofs and windows as well as indoor humidity. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2013), these factors are likely to lead to “the growth of mold, fungi, and bacteria; the release of volatile organic compounds; and the breakdown of building materials” (p. 1). The most probable exposure pathway of the client is staying in a dump building because building dampness is considered to be the cause of respiratory diseases. To avoid complications, the client can be advised to change the work environment, otherwise, she is at a high risk of developing chronic respiratory conditions as a result of being exposed to a damp environment ad mold.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2013). Preventing the occupational respiratory disease from exposures caused by dampness in office buildings, schools, and other nonindustrial buildings. Web.

Park, J., Cho, S., White, S., & Cox-Ganser, J. (2018). Changes in respiratory and non-respiratory symptoms in occupants of a large office building over a period of moisture damage remediation attempts. PLOS ONE, 13(1), e0191165. Web.

The top 8 respiratory illnesses and diseases. (2018). Web.

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