Asthma is a chronic condition that affects your ability to breathe. During an asthma attack, your airways swell up, becoming narrow and congested. There is no cure for asthma, though you can treat your symptoms and take steps to reduce the frequency of attacks.

Many people think of asthma as a childhood illness, but adults can also develop it, often due to exposure to hazardous substances at work. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts estimates that around 200,000 residents have work-related asthma. Dozens of materials that people routinely work with, such as solvents, grout, dust and animal dander, can trigger asthma.

Reasons to suspect you caught asthma at work

If you have been diagnosed with asthma, you may not be sure if your illness is work-related. If it is, you could qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, if your asthma has forced you to stop working. Here are three signs that your asthma is possibly work-related:

  • Your condition improves on your days off, holidays and vacations
  • Your asthma gets worse when you are in certain areas of your workplace, performing specific tasks or near certain materials
  • Your symptoms tend to be worse at the end of the workweek compared with the beginning

If these sound familiar to you, you may have developed asthma on the job. Asthma is a progressive disease. Unless you remove yourself from the conditions that caused it, your condition could grow worse. You could even die.

While you are away from work recovering, you will need assistance with your medical bills and other expenses. That is what workers’ compensation is for. Proving a connection between your diagnosis and your illness can be tricky, and your employer is likely to deny your claim. You can help yourself by going to your doctor and following their advice and contacting a qualified workers’ compensation lawyer as soon as possible.