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What is occupational asthma?

Of all the health risks present in a workplace, exposure to toxic substances is perhaps the most insidious. In many cases, workers cannot even see these substances, making it difficult to protect themselves from exposure. Further, unbeknownst to workers, toxic hazards exist in many industries -- even those that may seem very safe. Following is a partial list of substances that could cause health problems.

  • Wood dust
  • Chemicals in paint, shellac and other materials
  • Plastics
  • Dyes
  • Animal proteins
  • Foods like snow crab or herring
  • Adhesives

Exposure to these toxic hazards can lead to occupational asthma. This condition typically causes shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing and tightness in the chest. Additional symptoms such as nasal congestion, runny nose and eye irritation can also occur. As with other job-related illnesses, you can receive medical and income replacement benefits through workers' compensation if you suffer from occupational asthma. However, you must first acquire a proper diagnosis.

Unfortunately, many victims of occupational asthma may not connect their symptoms with the condition. Therefore, they do not take the proper steps to get a diagnosis. The problem with this is that failing to address the condition can lead to complications and leave victims dealing with asthma permanently. In some people, the risk of death may also increase.

Another potential problem with occupational asthma involves proving that your employment led to the condition. Failure to prove the condition may lead to a denial of your workers' compensation claim. Fortunately, you have a good chance of proving your case by seeking assistance from an attorney who can help you gather the necessary evidence.

Regardless of your industry, pay attention to any unusual respiratory symptoms you may experience. Early treatment not only improves your overall health, but it can also establish a chain of evidence to support your workers' compensation claim.

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