As many as 15% of asthma cases in the U.S. may be job-related.
According to American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) occupational asthma has become the most common work-related lung disease in developed countries. As many as 15% of asthma cases in the U.S. may be job-related.
People who develop occupational asthma may be completely healthy, or they may have had asthma as a child and find that it has returned. For people who already have asthma, it may be worsened by exposure to certain substances at work. Whatever your case, if you have developed occupational asthma you need to seek immediate medical treatment.
Causes of Work-Related Asthma
A worker can develop asthma by breathing in gases, chemical fumes, dust, or other substances at work. Occupational asthma, also known as work-related asthma, can cause a person to have an allergic or immunological response to a substance that he or she may be sensitive to.
There are as many as 250 different workplace substances that have been identified as possible causes of the sickness. Some of these include:
- Enzymes – like the ones used in flour conditioners and detergents
- Metals – particularly chromium, platinum, and nickel sulfate
- Animal substances – such as proteins found in hair, fur, saliva, dander, and bodily wastes
- Plant substances – such as proteins found in flour, cereals, flax, cotton, rubber latex, hemp, rye, and wheat
- Chemicals – used in laminates, paints, varnishes, adhesives and others that may be used in packaging materials and insulation
- Respiratory irritants – sulfur dioxide, smoke, and chlorine gas
Symptoms of Occupational Asthma
The symptoms of occupational asthma are similar to those caused by other types of asthma. The main symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath
- Tightness in the chest
- Difficulty breathing
Other symptoms that often accompany these main ones include nasal congestion, runny nose, and eye irritation. If you are having any of these symptoms, talk to your health care provider. If he or she thinks your asthma is work-related, or if you believe it is, it is necessary to file a workers compensation claim. You will need compensation to pay for the cost of tests, treatment, and possible time off from work.
How Do You Know if Your Asthma is Work-Related?
If you notice that you have any of the symptoms listed above, think about whether or not your symptoms are worse on days that you’re at work versus when you’re at home for any length of time such as the weekends or when on vacation. If the asthma returns once you return to work, that is often a big indicator.
It is important to seek immediate medical attention if you have any of the symptoms. If not correctly diagnosed and you’re not protected or able to avoid exposure to the contributing factors, occupational asthma can cause permanent lung damage or disability and can sometimes even lead to death.
Workmens Comp for Occupational Asthma
If you or a loved one has developed asthma from work, our Missouri Workers’ Compensation Attorneys can provide you with the necessary information to make the right choices so that you can receive the best medical care, benefits and income.
Missouri Workers’ Comp enables an injured worker to receive medical benefits as well as income benefits. You should be receiving treatment for ALL of your injuries, not just the ones the insurance company wants to accept. Please call (314) 361-4300 or fill out our online contact form to request a free consultation.