Asthma can be caused at work
Depending on where you work, there could be hazardous chemicals floating in the air and you would never even know. You may think everything is fine until someone starts showing signs of illness. Sometimes when this happens, an employee who is overexposed could get a respiratory disease called, occupational asthma. A few jobs that have been threatened by this disease are:
- Laboratory animal workers
- Healthcare workers
According to Dr. Clayton Cowl, occupational and environmental-related respiratory illnesses specialist at the Mayo Clinic, “Work-related asthma is the most common occupational pulmonary illness with a prevalence of 9-15% of all forms of asthma.”
Proper diagnosis is important
Many people who are afflicted with this specific asthma are unsure of its origin. Occupational health services, like U.S. HealthWorks, want to make sure that patients who actually have occupational asthma are taken care of but the problem is, diagnosing it can be difficult. It could just be regular asthma that is unrelated to work. Cowl mentions that:
“There is a considerable individual variability in the presentations of work-related asthma. It is a mimicker of a variety of other conditions. The first pitfall is patients being diagnosed with occupational asthma who do not actually have asthma but instead possess other conditions such as gastreosophageal reflux disease, vocal cord dysfunction, or non–work related sinus disease. Its diagnosis requires some persistence by the occupational physician to confirm the diagnosis and to establish causality.”
Once employees have been officially diagnosed with occupational asthma, many can still return to work safely with a few restrictions. Occupational health specialists can find out exactly what it is that may be affecting the employee’s occupational asthma and require them to avoid it. Whether it is smoke, dust, chemical fumes, or something else – the best thing an employer can do is to find a way for the employee to still perform their duties without being exposed the way they were before.
It is crucial that workers can return to work safely and quickly so as to not lose productivity. Just remember – occupational health service provider, U.S. HealthWorks, works for not only the employee but also the employer.
Sources: Occupational Asthma and Workers’ Compensation, workerscompensationsconference.com