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What is work-related asthma, and how do you know if you have it?

| Aug 10, 2020 | Workers' Compensation

There are many kinds of illnesses that you could develop over the years at your job. If you’re regularly exposed to fumes and gases, one you need to watch out for is work-related asthma. Asthma is a lung disease that worsens when you’re exposed to certain substances in the workplace, like dust, fumes, mold and other items. Exposure to these irritants can make it difficult for you to breathe and could lead to a life-threatening asthma attack.

Work-related asthma is nothing new. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) knows about it and provides guidance to employers, employees and medical providers about asthma in the workplace as well as potential causes.

How do you know if you’re developing (or have developed) work-related asthma?

Some symptoms you may notice include:

  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Trouble breathing
  • Chest tightness
  • Shortness of breath

These are all serious symptoms, and you should seek medical help if you’re having trouble breathing. Asthma is just one of the many illnesses that could lead to these symptoms, and it’s not the only one that could be life-threatening.

You may need to see a pulmonologist, who is a specialist focused on treating issues with the respiratory system. A variety of tests can be administered to determine if you have asthma. You may also be prescribed an inhaler for emergencies as well as a daily inhaled steroid to help reduce the risk of serious, potentially fatal attacks.

Work-related asthma sometimes goes away after your exposure to the irritants ends, but not always. Even if you use personal protective equipment, you may still develop this disease. If you do, it’s essential to understand your right to compensation.