World Allergy Week is an annual initiative of the World Allergy Organisation, aimed at raising awareness of allergic diseases and related disorders. This year World Allergy Week took place on 5-11 June 2022, with a focus on allergic respiratory diseases such as hypersensitivity pneumonitis and asthma.
Some of our clients have been diagnosed with hypertensivity pneumonitis, so we wanted to share some information about this condition, and how the environment you work in can be a contributing factor.
Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis (also known as Extrinsic Allergic Alveolitis) is an allergic response to an environmental irritant, or allergen. This allergic reaction causes the lungs to become inflamed.
This inflammation makes it difficult to breathe and can lead to irreversible lung damage. The severity of the disease can vary, depending on the inhaled allergens and quantity.
Many cases of hypersensitivity pneumonitis occur suddenly and for a short time, and these cases are usually successfully treated. However, those with an exposure to low levels of allergens over an extended period of time may develop chronic hypersensitivity pneumonitis, meaning it can come on slowly and worsen over time.
Symptoms of hypersensitivity pneumonitis depend on whether it is acute (shorter and severe) or chronic (over a longer period and worsening) in nature.
Symptoms of acute Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis usually last between a few hours and days and may include:
The symptoms of chronic hypersensitivity pneumonitis can be long term and may include:
Hypersensitivity pneumonitis is caused by breathing in specific environmental allergens. This causes an immune response of the lungs in response to repeated inhalation of a sensitized allergen.
Various medical studies have revealed that Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis can develop in workplace settings where workers are exposed to allergens such as:
Because of this, some of the most high-risk industries are cheese manufacturers, laboratory workers, sugar manufacturers, farmers, malt and beer brewery workers and cattle workers.
If you have worked somewhere with exposure to allergens such as mould, bacteria, bird droppings, bird feathers, chemicals from paints or plastics, grain dust, malt dust, enzyme detergent, epoxy resin and wheat and you are concerned you might be at risk, see your GP.
It’s important you also inform them of your occupation, and exposure levels so they have all of the information.
Your GP can guide you as to the need for any ongoing monitoring depending on your specific circumstances.
If you have been diagnosed with hypersensitivity pneumonitis and have a history of occupational exposure to mould, bacteria, bird droppings, bird feathers, chemicals from paints or plastics, grain dust, malt dust, enzyme detergent, epoxy resin and wheat, and/or work in a high-risk industry, it is important to get legal advice to help you understand your rights and options.
Our Canberra office is now closed, but our team continues to serve ACT clients and are available for phone and video appointments. If you need legal advice, please call us on 1800 675 346.
We have lawyers who specialise in a range of legal claims who travel to Tasmania. If you need a lawyer in Hobart, Launceston or elsewhere in Tasmania, please call us on 1800 675 346.