Exposed to asbestos? Here's what you should know

If you're working and find out that you've been exposed to asbestos, you may not be sure what you can do to help yourself. You know that exposure can lead to mesothelioma, but is there anything you can do to help prevent it?

If you think that you've been exposed to asbestos, there is a real concern that you could have asbestos fibers in your lungs or other parts of your body. Yes, they have the potential to make you sick. In July 2018, people in New York City were potentially exposed to asbestos due to an explosion from a blast site. Even though the air seemed safe, there was a real concern from many that they could later develop mesothelioma as a result of the fibers launched into the air.

Concerns have merit, but don't be too worried right away. Asbestos does occur in nature, and everyone is exposed to some amount of it during their lives. A single exposure isn't likely to cause much harm. The length of exposure, as well as frequency of exposure, matters most. If you're exposed often over the course of many years, you're much more likely to develop an illness than if you're exposed only once.

That doesn't mean that you aren't at risk, but it does mean that your risk is low. If you're concerned about exposure, don't be afraid to go to the doctor to discuss your options. Treating any exposure seriously and taking time to monitor for the development of lung conditions is important for people who have been around asbestos.

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