Millions of Americans suffer what is known as “occupational asthma,” meaning they are literally “allergic to work.” Symptoms tend to be quite severe. Employees may start with itchy, red eyes and runny noses, however, bloody noses, difficulty breathing, closed throats, and pneumonia-like symptoms may develop, landing employees in the emergency room and even forcing employees to quit their jobs. This condition is fairly easy to diagnose: you feel ill at the workplace, you feel better when you leave. What is not always as straightforward, is getting proper compensation from your place of work. If you have experienced symptoms of occupational asthma, you may wish to talk to an allergy and asthma doctor, and have a formal diagnosis.
Ideally, you should be able to seek diagnosis through your workers compensation department at your office. They will send you to a designated doctor for examination. Don’t be surprised, however, if your doctor tells you your symptoms are unrelated to your work environment. The doctors are employed by the workers compensation insurance providers, and have the incentive to help the employer’s bottom line. Additionally, when doctors do side with the patient, workers comp will often send the ill worker for a second opinion, which, more often than not, will declare the employer is not at fault. In moments like this, you would be wise to consult with a work injury compensation lawyer. When you consult with your attorney, be sure to keep a record of all doctor visits.
There are many factors that can cause occupational asthma. If you work in an office with poor air quality, or that exposes you to known irritants, you may be at risk. Allergists, see many patients with asthma symptoms. Often, these symptoms are developed or worsened by dyes, chemical fumes, pet dander, dust, flour, and other fine particles that occupy the air in their workplaces. If you developed severe respiratory complications after starting a position, undertaking a hazardous project, or witnessing a change in the work environment, you be wise to seek counsel from a legal professional. You may also obtain your own opinion from a reputable, unbiased professional. However, know that you will likely not be reimbursed for consulting with your own doctor. Still, it is better than no help at all.
If your work is making you sick, you have a right to seek medical attention and obtain all the information you can. This will allow you to move forward, and build a strong case in seeking the workers compensation to which you are entitled under the law.