Work can take a devastating toll on people’s health and well-being, especially if they are exposed to occupational hazards that cause respiratory diseases. Unfortunately, workers across Wisconsin are at risk of suffering common illnesses; some are at a higher risk than others.
Common occupational respiratory illnesses
As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports, some of the most common respiratory illnesses people develop throughout the course of their job include:
- Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)
- Lung cancer
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
These illnesses can range in severity, but they can cause painful, long-term and sometimes fatal symptoms that dramatically affect workers and their families.
Often, these illnesses affect people exposed to specific toxins and hazardous materials. These substances can include:
- Coal mine dust
- Harmful bacteria
- Silica dust
Viruses can also spread through workplaces, causing respiratory conditions.
It is possible that exposure to these harmful substances can occur outside of work. However, some of them – like asbestos – can disproportionately affect people who work in areas and occupations where they experience prolonged exposure.
Workers at risk
If you work in certain jobs, you could be more likely to come into contact with harmful chemicals and substances. Some of these include:
- Jobs in casinos, bars or other smoky environments
- Housekeeping or cleaning
- Health care
These jobs are among those that increase your risk of developing occupational respiratory illnesses.
Making the connection between your job and your illness can be challenging, but legal guidance is available to help. Seeking support can be crucial, as you could be eligible for benefits from workers’ compensation and possible personal injury claims.
Money may not undo the damage of a severe illness or be a cure, but it can help you and your family cope with the condition and the toll it takes on your lives.