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Have you ever been to see a doctor and found it difficult to know exactly what to say regarding your concerns? You’re not alone.

If you’ve been experiencing symptoms or feeling unwell, and you think it could be caused by exposure to harmful dust, fumes or chemicals at work, it’s important you make an appointment to see your doctor about this.

Sadly, the number of people who work in construction and other industries who develop diseases from inhaling silica dust, asbestos, or other harmful substances is on the rise. Many workers are unaware of the risks, so it’s really important to talk to a health professional if you ever have any concerns.

Most GPs (general practitioners) are very busy, especially if they bulk bill. They don’t always have enough time to get to the level of detail needed to understand your complete situation, unless you provide the right information. This is particularly important if you might have been exposed to something harmful – a doctor may not know about the type of work you do so you need to tell them.

So, before seeing your GP, it’s a good idea to prepare what you need to say so that your doctor not only understands why you’re there, but can offer you the right support. This is particularly helpful if English is not your first language.

To get the most out of your appointment, be sure to do the following:

1.    Talk about your symptoms

Tell your doctor about any symptoms you have been experiencing – shortness of breath, coughing or tightness in the chest are common early signs of lung damage. Even if you think it is a minor symptom, remember, nothing is too small to tell your doctor about.

You should also tell your doctor about any underlying health conditions you have.

2.    Talk about what you do for work

If you have worked in an environment where you might have been exposed to toxic dust or fumes, it’s important you talk about this. Give details on the type of tasks you do, the materials you work with, the personal protective equipment (PPE) you are provided, and the duration of your tasks.

3.    Ask for a referral for a CT scan and lung function test

If you think you are at risk, ask your doctor for a referral for a CT scan and lung function test. If you have explained the nature of your work and the potential that you have been exposed to something harmful, they should refer you to a specialist without question.

Remember, your health is the most important thing, so there’s no harm in speaking to a doctor about any concerns you might have.

Tip: if you feel like you might forget how to explain what you’re experiencing, write down some notes to take into the appointment with you.

To find out more information about occupational diseases and how we can help you, visit our disease exposure page or call 1800 111 222.

Learn more about workplace diseases

Our specialist workplace disease lawyers have experience managing claims across Australia including diseases caused by asbestos, silica and dust exposure. Contact us today and find out how we can help.

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