Baker's Asthma | Wheat Allergy | Allergy

Baker’s Asthma

by Allergy Guy

Baker’s asthma is a form of occupational asthma experienced by some commercial bakers. This article covers causes and what you can do about it.

Baker’s asthma may be one of the most common forms of occupational asthma.[1]  Bakers, millers and grain handlers are at risk of suffering from this allergy.  Roman bakers primitive cloth masks to reduce exposure to inhaled flour, so this form of asthma has a long history too.[2]

Cause of Baker’s Asthma

Baker’s asthma is a lung disease, caused by exposure to the air-borne particles in bakeries at high concentrations over an extended period.  Wheat flour is the most common cause, but other causes include [1][3]:

  • Particles from wheat
  • Fungi and mold
  • Mites
  • Additives and enzymes
  • Yeast
  • Eggs/egg powder
  • Sesame seeds
  • Nuts

According to German studies, apprenticing bakers may have about a 5% rate of allergy symptoms and seasoned bakers a rate closer to 20%, which include skin, nose and lung problems [1].

Avoiding Baker’s Asthma

The best way to avoid baker’s asthma is to avoid exposure to high concentrations of “bakery dust”.  Dust control should be undertaken by the bakery and workers should wear a high-quality and properly fitted mask so they do not inhale air-borne allergens.[3]

Once asthma has developed, an inhaler will likely be necessary to control symptoms.[1]

What is your experience with baker’s asthma?  Please leave a comment.

Baker’s Asthma References

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