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:
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.
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.
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.
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.