In some lines of work, people get exposed to various environments which may potentially lead to health risks, especially in the long run. In many professions, people get exposed to various factors which may trigger respiratory problems, triggering diseases. These kinds of health problems are usually classified as work-related or occupational respiratory diseases.
If you think that you might be suffering from an occupational respiratory disease, read through the following lines and learn all about these diseases since this might help you learn how to protect yourself and seek medical assistance and treatment timely.
Who Is at Risk for Work-Related Lung Disease
Basically, if your job involves spending time being exposed to dust, fumes, gases, smoke, vapors or mist, you are more likely to experience certain respiratory health problems than workers who are not working in such environments.
Moreover, if you are a smoker yourself, you increase the chances of suffering from occupational respiratory diseases. Moreover, if your workplace is poorly ventilated or completely closed and if you are exposed to high levels of heat during your working hours, the chances of developing a respiratory disease due to your job environment are even higher, especially when combined with the above mentioned substances present in the air you breathe while at work.
What Substances in the Workplace can Cause Lung Disease?
There are numerous different types of air pollutants which can be related to occupational respiratory diseases. Namely, dust from materials such as wood, cotton, coal, asbestos, silica and talc can cause respiratory problems and even lung damage, once inhaled on a daily basis.
Moreover, people who work in environments related to production of coffee, pesticides, drugs or enzyme powders, along with metals and fiberglass, may be exposed to harmful types of dust too.
As far as fumes are concerned, harmful exposure can occur due to those which stem from heated or cooled metals or other such substances. So, people who are involved in melting metals, welding or working near furnaces, as well as those who deal with pottery production or manufacturing items made of plastics, all can develop occupational lung diseases. Additionally, people who manufacture rubber can suffer the same consequences.
Just as dangerous as fumes are, smoke, emitted from burning metals, contains parts of these substances, vapors and gases, often triggering various health issues in people who inhale these frequently. A profession which involves breathing in these smokes is that of a firefighter.
Alternatively, some professions may be related to gas exposure. Namely, gases such as formaldehyde, chlorine, ammonia, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, ozone and many others, all can trigger health problems related to lungs, once they are inhaled. People who are endangered in this respect are welders, smelters and those who work near furnaces for these chemicals.
Mists and vapors may come from paints, hair sprays, pesticides, cleaning chemicals, oils, solvents, acids and other substances of these types. So, individuals who handle these on a daily basis may risk suffering from occupational respiratory diseases too.
How Can You Keep from Having Your Lungs Damaged by Something You're Exposed to at Work?
First and foremost, if you desire to stay healthy and more resistant to all occupational respiratory diseases, you need to stop smoking. Smoking decreases your health significantly, triggering various health diseases.
Secondly, make sure you use a respirator since it will keep the harmful substances from the air you breathe in away from you. However, keep in mind that you need to be well trained and fitted in order to use a respirator. Also, this device needs to be properly cleaned and fully functional in order to keep you protected.
Finally, if your working environment exposes you to some of the above mentioned harmful substances, talk to your superiors or supervisors, telling them about the necessity of proper ventilation, filtering or some other procedures for eliminating the fumes, gases, vapors and other dangerous factors of exposure.
If your company starts using ventilation it will clear the air from harmful toxins and gases, removing the pollution from your working environment. In situations where this is not possible, you are advised to seek a different working post, preventing any health damage from being done to you.
According to various surveys and researches, in 2008, 14,800 cases of occupational respiratory diseases were noted in the private industry, with an additional number of 7,800 cases in the government and state companies. In fact 5.9 per 10,000 workers suffered from some sort of occupational respiratory disease.
All in all, there are many different types of occupational diseases and these can be a common scenario for all workers who work in environments where harmful gases, fumes, vapors or other substances are present in the air. In the long run, exposure to these substances can lead to a wide variety of occupational respiratory diseases, mainly affecting the lungs of the sufferers.
Therefore, if your working environment is not healthy, make sure you do your best to change this. Also, start from your own healthy habits by quitting smoking or never starting this life-threatening habit.