If you work in an industry where you're frequently exposed to dust or other harmful particles, there's a chance you could be getting sick from what you're breathing in. Do you have symptoms of respiratory illness like a cough or a scratchy-feeling throat, but are unsure of what you could be suffering from? One common lung disease caused by exposure to dust is silicosis, and you could be entitled to compensation if you're suffering due to inhalation of harmful particles at work.
What is silicosis?
Silicosis is a lung disease that is caused by exposure to dust containing silica, such as sandstone dust. Typically, silicosis is associated with the formation of nodules on the upper part of the lung, as well as scarring. The large nodules block air flow to and from the lungs, making it difficult for the lung to expand and contract normally.
Who is most likely to be at risk?
According to Health Direct, the most common lines of work for labourers contracting silicosis include:
- Sand blasting
- Stone masonry and/or stone cutting
- Construction and demolition
- Mining and quarrying
- Pottery, ceramics and glass manufacturing
Working in one of these industries does not mean you will automatically develop silicosis. Whether or not you become exposed to the disease will depend on a variety of factors, including how much silica is found within the dust you are exposed to.
What are the symptoms of silicosis?
Depending on the level of exposure to silica, symptoms of silicosis could take years to develop. Typically, it will take at least five years to see symptoms after initial exposure, but it can take more than 30 years sometimes. However, most early stages of silicosis see no symptoms at all.
Some of the most common symptoms associated with silicosis include:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Dry cough
As the disease gets worse, Health Direct states that symptoms can worsen as well. Some people find daily activities difficult, such as sleeping, climbing stairs or eating. Along with the silicosis diagnosis, people who are exposed to this disease have a greater likelihood of developing other serious conditions. These can include:
- Lung cancer
- Chest infections
- Kidney damage
If you have been exposed to dust while on the job, and are experiencing symptoms of silicosis, go see a doctor immediately. Then get in touch with Gerard Malouf and Partners to file a claim if you believe you are entitled to compensation. Contact us today.