Occupational lung disease is a common workplace injury. One of the reasons for its low detection rate is that symptoms may not show up until long after an employee’s exposure. One of the best methods for preventing occupational lung disease is to guard against it proactively. To be proactive, you must understand what it is, which symptoms to look out for, and how to avoid situations that may cause it.
Here’s what you need to know.
What Is Occupational Lung Disease?
Occupational lung disease is an illness caused by repeated or long-term exposure to an irritant in the workplace. Irritants vary but may include small particles in the air such as those found in a coal mine, auto body shop, dust, fibers, etc. Over time these irritants can build up in the lungs, causing long-lasting and even permanent damage to the body.
While some industries have a higher risk of employees developing lung disease, any area with poor air quality or small particles floating around, like a woodshop, for instance, may result in illness among workers. After an employee has contracted a lung disease, symptoms may soon start to set in.
Symptoms Of Occupational Lung Diseases
Occupational lung diseases have many different symptoms. Depending on the severity of the illness, symptoms may vary from one worker to another. Common symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Chest tightness
- Abnormal breathing pattern
If you begin experiencing these symptoms, consult your healthcare provider immediately. Occupational lung disease often worsens over time. The sooner you start treating it, the better your chances of avoiding lasting effects on your body.
Preventing Occupational Lung Disease
There are several ways that you can prevent occupational lung disease. If you work in an area where you may contract lung disease, consider implementing the following changes into your life to help protect yourself against possible illness.
Smoking has been linked to an increased risk for occupational lung disease as smoke inhalation can weaken lung function, making you more susceptible to other health issues.
Utilize Proper PPE
Personal protective equipment may feel cumbersome, but it does a great job protecting you from potential dangers in the workplace. When working in an area with a high risk of causing occupational lung disease, use devices such as a face mask to avoid breathing in dust and other airborne irritants.
Check Your Lung Function
Tools like a spirometer allow you to measure your lung function by determining how hard you can blow. Regularly taking these numbers down will let you know if there’s any decline in your lung performance.
There are always dangers in the workplace that may affect your health. Educating yourself on these dangers and how you can avoid them will help you protect your health while staying productive in your field of work.
How Can We Help?
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