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This content is taken from the University of Bergen, Addis Ababa University & Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences's online course, Occupational Health in Developing Countries. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 1 secondHello! Magne, you have a great shirt today, what is it made of? I think it is cotton! That is great, because the first question from the students today is about cotton, or actually; about byssinosis! The information about this disease seems to have fallen out of our course, so we need to tell it now instead.

Skip to 0 minutes and 26 secondsSo, the first question is: What is byssinosis? Byssinosis is a work related lung disease caused by exposure to dust from cotton, hemp, flax or jute. The classic symptoms are fever, chest tightness and dyspnea. It has been called the Monday Fever, as the symptoms occur on Monday after returning from the weekend break. After exposure for many years they may develop chronic obstructive lung disease. OK, is this disease very common? It varies a lot among textile workers. Recent studies show prevalences of 32% and 10% from China and Pakistan. In 1950, about 50% of the cotton workers in UK had byssinosis. Since then, the exposure has decreased dramatically, and the prevalence is now very low, even below 1%. That is good!

Skip to 1 minute and 31 secondsThen we have a second question: What type of cardiovascular diseases are caused by shiftwork? Shift work is common in many industries. Shift work may affect the autonomous nervous system and also the cardiovascular system, by disruping the circadian rhythm. A recent review suggested that shift work is associated with ischaemic heart disease, especially night shifts.

Skip to 2 minutes and 5 secondsOK, then we have a third question: What is your thought on the usefulness of mental first aiders at work? Is it worth investing money in training your employees? Employees should be trained in factors like work stress and mental health, and how to help colleagues. It is also very important that the employers are told about such factors. A productive organization is not possible without healthy individuals; and we need to make sure that the management are aware of this.

Skip to 2 minutes and 50 secondsOK, at the end, due to the present corona-situation, we need to comment something relevant to that. There are many people these days here in Norway who are not allowed to be at their work places, but they have to work from home.

Skip to 3 minutes and 7 secondsWe are in this situation, and Magne, what do you think: does it has any adverse effects for you? Ah, at least it is a bit lonely. I agree. However, I have found three points that might be a help for you, who work from home.

Skip to 3 minutes and 28 secondsThe first one is structure. It is very important to structure your working day, to get up in the morning and work during normal work hours. The second, is the workplace. You need to have a dedicated workplace in your home, with a table, a chair, a computer and the things you need.

Skip to 3 minutes and 53 secondsAnd then, number three is contact. You need to have regular contact with your boss and your colleagues, either by telephone or by internet resources. That was all for today; bye-bye and take care!

Week 5: feedback

Questions about byssinosis, shiftwork, mental first aid and home office situations are answered in this video.

Questions from all learners - posted through the “FutureLearn - Comments” are considered for this feedback sessions.

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This video is from the free online course:

Occupational Health in Developing Countries

University of Bergen