Daily exposure for a prolonged period to irritants can increase the risks of developing occupational asthma.
When you think about the possible injuries you might suffer as a baker, asthma likely isn’t the first thought that comes to mind. Burns and cuts, yes, but a respiratory disease in an environment safe from chemicals may not seem very likely.
However, bakers work with all sorts of possible lung irritants, such as wheat, barley, rye, yeast, sesame seeds, mold, dust mites, and so on. Daily exposure for a prolonged period to these irritants can increase the risks of developing occupational asthma.
Pediatric Asthma vs. Occupational Asthma
Asthma is a respiratory disease that affects around 25 million Americans. It is estimated that between 10 and 25% of American workers develop occupational asthma.
What is the difference between occupational asthma and pediatric asthma?
Pediatric asthma is a respiratory illness that begins in infancy and which causes the airways to narrow, making breathing more difficult. Some of the symptoms include wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness. The symptoms can improve or even go away as the child turns into a teen and an adult.
Occupational asthma doesn’t begin in childhood but is caused by work conditions. People with pediatric asthma may notice a worsening of their symptoms after prolonged exposure to a hazardous working environment.
How to Prove Your Asthma Is Work-Related
Workers’ compensation covers occupational asthma but proving that your condition is work-related can be a bit difficult. That’s because it can take a long time (in some cases even years) for the first symptoms of occupational asthma to show.
If you suspect you have occupational asthma, then you should try to monitor your symptoms. See if they get worse at work compared to when you are at home or in other environments. Make a note of that and talk about your symptoms with your doctor.
What to Do If You Believe You Have Baker’s Asthma
If you think that you’ve developed baker’s asthma, you should notify your employer as soon as possible. The next step you will need to take is to visit a doctor and present your symptoms. The doctor may perform a few tests, such as a spirometry test, to see how much air you can exhale after taking a deep breath, how fast you can breathe out, and a peak flow test to measure how hard you can breathe.
It’s also highly recommended that you get in touch with a St. Louis workers’ compensation attorney. They can help you prove that your asthma is work-related and file a workers’ compensation claim. These cases can be difficult, especially if you have a pre-existing condition, as the employer might fight back and argue the work environment had nothing to do with your illness.
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