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Dangerous Occupational Illnesses To Watch Out For

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When you are at work, you expect to be safe, right? Your employers should be attentive to potential dangers lurking in and around the workplace, but you must be proactive, too. That means being aware of how you feel, your surroundings and the general environment.  Using safety equipment and wearing protective clothing can help protect you from unforeseen environmental dangers. It is also important that you discuss any concerns with your employer when they arise. Together, you should be able to create a workplace and schedule to ensure your safety. Here are some common but completely avoidable workplace illnesses and conditions.

Repetitive Strain Injury

Repetitive strain injury, or RSI, is a term that defines many different conditions that affect the body’s limbs and joints. You might be familiar with the term “tennis elbow” or “frozen shoulder”. These are both injuries that fall under the category of repetitive strain. You are at a high risk of RSI if you carry out the same movement over and over again at work. For instance, typing at your computer all day or using the same machinery could be potentially hazardous.

Unfortunately, the only way to reduce the symptoms of RSI is to rest the affected area.  There are some ways an employer can help to reduce your risk.  They might look at more frequent breaks and reduced time for those who must do repetitive motions. If RSI gets particularly bad, your doctor may be able to prescribe supportive bandages or other therapies to reduce pain and swelling.

Mesothelioma

Builders and those working in the construction industry are at the highest risk for developing mesothelioma. This is especially true if they have ever been exposed to asbestos. Even though it is illegal to build using asbestos, it is still present in some old buildings. This is one of those cases that you must do everything in your power to protect yourself from a harmful environment. If you think you have breathed in a substantial amount of any questionable substance, you should visit your doctor immediately. He or she will help to determine if you have sustained a dangerous exposure and go from there. 

If you have been exposed to asbestos while on the job, you may be eligible to claim compensation from your employer. It is important to document all of your symptoms, doctor appointments, and money spent. A mesothelioma lawyer can help with all of the legal documentation and making a claim.

Dermatitis

People who work continually any type of chemicals are at risk of dermatitis. Even regular use of common household cleaners and products can affect you, especially if you are sensitive. Hair stylists, estheticians, artists, mechanics, construction workers, medical or hospital employees are some of the workers at the highest risk. Your employer should have some practices or equipment in place that can help to reduce your exposure to chemicals. If you do end up with skin symptoms that are of concern, visit your doctor for the best way to treat and prevent it from recurring. There are prescription and over the counter creams or lotions to help abate the symptoms associated with this type of dermatitis.

Hand/Arm Vibration Syndrome

If your hands are exposed to continual vibrations, you are at a risk of developing hand/arm vibration syndrome. This condition mainly affects construction workers who use heavy drills and machinery. There are a number of symptoms associated with this syndrome. They include what’s called dead hands and fingers and your fingers could turn white.  You should stop using vibrating equipment immediately if you develop this syndrome. Unfortunately, it is not treatable. But can be managed with medication, keeping affected areas warm, and regular exercise. In this case, prevention is the best way to go. Take frequent breaks and be aware of how you feel at all times during your work day.

**** This post is strictly informational and is not meant to replace the advice of your health care provider. Women’s lifelink, it’s owners, administrators, contributors, affiliates, vendors, authors and editors do not claim that this information will diagnose, treat, or improve any condition or disease.

About Madeline

Madeline is a mid-west mom of three who spends most of her time refilling ice trays and changing toilet paper...just kidding. She is a high school guidance counselor, all around funny gal, and a writer. Her first book, Be Happy Already!", is in the works.

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