People suffering from various dust diseases – including silicosis, asbestosis and pneumoconiosis – already have compromised respiratory systems that lead to difficulty breathing. Unfortunately, the new threat posed to them by the novel coronavirus leaves them at even greater risk for a serious health problem.
Across Australia, many people who have been diagnosed with these illnesses – typically contracted as a result of working or living in close proximity to dangerous airborne particles – are taking even greater than normal measures of self-isolation under threat from the coronavirus disease COVID-19, according to ABC News. Problematically, though, some people who may be dealing with these specific health issues may not even know they have them yet, as it can take years or more for the full impact of widespread infection to be fully understood.
Anyone dealing with these illnesses who also contracts coronavirus could face severe complications, the report said. Dr. Robert Cohen, medical director of the Black Lung Centre of Excellence at the University of Illinois in the U.S., noted, "Coronavirus is definitely worse in people who have underlying lung disease," and that anyone with such a disease may have little recourse for treatment once they contract COVID-19. Even going to a care provider to receive treatment for their existing conditions could put them at significant risk.
Many of the typical warning signs of coronavirus infection, such as shortness of breath, are already present in people who have silicosis and other lung diseases. The Canberra Times noted that this means seeking medical help specifically for difficulty breathing is a good idea, though it may not be a direct indicator of the virus. As such, looking for other warning signs such as sore throats, fevers and the like may also be necessary to determine next steps.
Doing additional research online or calling the national coronavirus hotline to determine whether current symptoms are consistent with that illness is a good idea for anyone exhibiting even mild symptoms.
If you or someone you know has been affected by silicosis or other respiratory illnesses, it's vital to reach out to the experts at Gerard Malouf & Partners. We can walk you through your options for seeking legal recourse and, with our No Win No Fee program and 90-day trial period, you'll know exactly what we can do for you.