Exposure to substances like beryllium, coal dust, asbestos, silica or latex can cause serious health concerns and diseases such as allergies, asthma, COPD, silicosis and bronchiolitis. If you have or are at risk for developing a condition caused by exposure to substances in your work environment, there are steps you can take to stay healthy.
Begin by reducing or eliminating your exposure to the substance and participate in regular, industry appropriate screenings. For example, coal miners should have regular lung screenings. In many cases, early detection is key and leads to more effective treatment. If you smoke, quitting will make a big difference in your overall health. Getting regular exercise will also help you maintain respiratory muscle strength. Explain the nature of your work to your doctor and discuss potential hazards that you should be aware of.
If you have a work-related lung condition, your doctor may prescribe supplemental oxygen to help you breathe. It is also important to treat respiratory infections quickly, and avoid illnesses like the flu by getting immunized. With some effort, you can prevent or minimize the effects of work-related illness.