Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral used in various industries due to its heat resistance, strength, and insulating properties. However, it is also a known carcinogen linked to serious health problems such as mesothelioma and lung cancer.
This article will discuss how one can get exposed to asbestos, the symptoms to watch out for, and what steps to take after exposure.
How Can You Get Exposed to Asbestos?
Occupational exposure is the most common way people get exposed to asbestos. Those working in the construction, shipbuilding, automotive, and manufacturing industries are at a higher risk of exposure due to the frequent use of asbestos-containing materials. Workers responsible for removing or maintaining these materials, such as insulation, roofing, and flooring, are also at risk. And, old buildings that were made with construction materials that contain asbestos can lead to asbestos exposure. For example, people faced asbestos exposure at US Naval Hospital Boston, as it was built using asbestos-containing materials.
Asbestos can also be found naturally in the environment, especially in regions with high amounts of natural asbestos deposits. People living near these deposits or where asbestos-containing materials have been improperly disposed of can be exposed to asbestos fibers released into the air, water, or soil.
Additionally, exposure can occur during natural disasters that damage buildings containing asbestos materials, releasing fibers into the air.
Asbestos exposure can also occur within the household. Older homes built before the 1980s may contain asbestos, insulation, floor tiles, and roofing. Family members of workers exposed to asbestos can also be at risk through the fibers brought home on clothing, shoes, and equipment. Also, check best shoes for nurses , you can get best ideas for you.
Symptoms of Asbestos Exposure
Asbestos exposure can lead to various health issues, with symptoms ranging from mild to severe. The following are some symptoms to watch out for.
Asbestos fibers can irritate the lungs when inhaled, leading to respiratory issues such as an uncomfortable and persistent dry cough, which often goes hand in hand with shortness of breath. You may even suffer from chest pain or tightness that can result in wheezing. Generally, this results in many discomforts and crackling sounds while you breathe.
Accidentally ingesting or swallowing asbestos fibers can result in gastrointestinal symptoms, including these:
- Abdominal pain
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
Other Extreme Symptoms
Asbestos exposure can also present with other symptoms, depending on the specific disease it causes. For example, mesothelioma, rare cancer caused by asbestos exposure, can often show itself through symptoms such as fatigue or night sweats. The uncomfortable cough may be accompanied by fluid buildup in the chest of the abdomen resulting in severe pain in the chest, lower back, and even your side.
It’s important to note that symptoms of asbestos-related diseases may not appear until years after exposure.
What to Do After Being Exposed to Asbestos
If you suspect you’ve been exposed to asbestos, it’s crucial to take action to protect your health and prevent further exposure.
Seek Medical Attention
See a healthcare professional immediately if you have symptoms consistent with asbestos exposure. Inform them of your exposure history that you know of and any relevant symptoms. They may conduct chest X-rays, lung function tests, or biopsies to diagnose asbestos-related diseases.
Report the Exposure
If you were exposed to asbestos at work, report the incident to your employer and the appropriate regulatory agencies, such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). It can help ensure proper measures are taken to prevent further exposure and protect other workers.
Take Preventative Measures
If you discover asbestos-containing materials in your home or workplace, consult an asbestos abatement professional to remove or encapsulate the materials safely. Do not attempt to remove or handle asbestos-containing materials yourself, as improper handling can release asbestos fibers into the air, increasing the risk of exposure.
Take Legal Action
If you have been exposed to asbestos, it is important to seek legal assistance immediately. Due to its widespread use in construction and other industries, many people have been exposed to asbestos without even knowing it. A lawyer who specializes in asbestos cases can help you determine if you have a case for compensation and guide you through the legal process. They can also help you navigate the complexities of filing a claim and ensure that you receive the maximum amount of compensation possible. So, if you or a loved one have been exposed to asbestos, don’t wait to seek legal help. Your health and future may depend on it.
Asbestos exposure can have serious health consequences, but awareness and prompt action can help protect you and your loved ones. Understanding how exposure occurs, recognizing the symptoms, and taking appropriate measures after exposure can minimize the risk of developing asbestos-related diseases.
If you believe you’ve been exposed to asbestos, seek medical attention, report the exposure, and take steps to prevent further exposure.