Workers who have trouble breathing on the job may be suffering from a common and dangerous condition known as occupational asthma. This condition can affect young employees, non-smokers and otherwise healthy people. It is caused by breathing dangerous substances that are present in the air. If occupational asthma is allowed to develop, it can severely compromise lung function and make a person partially or totally unable to work. In some cases, it can even be fatal.
Symptoms of occupational asthma
A worker compensation attorney in Woodstock knows that the most common symptoms of occupational asthma include all of the following:
- Shortness of breath
- Wheezing, especially at night
- Severe coughing
- Chest tightness
These signs generally appear after an extended period of exposure to dangerous substances. The symptoms often intensify as the work week goes on and fade gradually during weekends or vacations.
How many people are at risk of occupational asthma?
According to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, approximately 11 million workers in America are exposed to materials that may cause occupational asthma. A large proportion of factory workers, agricultural workers and construction workers are at risk of developing asthma from environmental toxins. Working environments as diverse as nail salons and art studios can expose people to deadly fumes that impede breathing.
What is the prognosis for occupational asthma?
People who have been diagnosed with occupational asthma can reverse their symptoms if they take action quickly. The first line of defense against this disease is removal of the allergy-causing materials, as a worker compensation attorney in Woodstock knows. Workers who have developed asthma must stay away from gases, fumes, dust and other substances that may aggravate their condition. In many cases, a new position or an entirely new job is necessary to keep the worker safe and encourage full recovery.
Compensation for occupational asthma
Occupational asthma is a serious job-related disease that is eligible for workers’ compensation in the state of Illinois. Benefits can cover lost wages, medical expenses and the cost of vocational retraining for a job that does not expose the worker to hazardous substances. Although occupational asthma is not as visible as traumatic work-related injuries, it is just as serious a condition as a broken back or an amputated finger.
Workers with breathing difficulties on the job have the right to medical care and safe employment. Injured or ill employees should call a worker compensation attorney in Woodstock today.