Asthma is a common disease in this country with over 25 million people diagnosed with the condition. What most people don’t realize is that up to 15% of asthma cases in the United States may be job-related.
Occupational asthma has become one of the most common work-related lung diseases in the United States. Occupational asthma is caused by inhaling fumes, gases, dust or other potentially harmful substances while "on the job." These substances “trigger” inflammation in your lungs that makes it difficult to breath. Often, your symptoms are worse during the days or nights you work, improve when you have time off and start again when you go back to work.
There are many substances that can trigger asthma. The length of time you are exposed to a substance before it triggers your asthma varies. It can be months or years before symptoms occur. On the other hand, exposure to a high concentration of irritants can cause asthma within 24 hours.
Many people with asthma caused by substances at work are incorrectly diagnosed as having allergies or bronchitis. If occupational asthma is not correctly diagnosed early, and you aren't protected or removed from the exposure, it can cause permanent changes to your lungs.
If you have developed asthma as a result of exposures in your employment, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.
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