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People who have lung scarring need to take extra precautions against the coronavirus

By Shaniqua Williams

Posted on March 27th, 2020

People with lung scarring are more susceptible to contracting the new virus, as their respiratory system is already compromised and they also have a very poor immune system. To avoid infection with coronavirus, individuals who struggle with lung scarring need to follow a series of protective measures.

At the moment, the U.S. has the largest number of coronavirus cases, with over 85,000 people who contracted the new virus. While for the majority of the population, infection with coronavirus will only cause symptoms which are similar to those of the common flu, for approximately 20% of the individuals who contract the virus, it will be fatal. The demographics at highest risk include people who struggle with lung scarring, a condition which has multiple causes, including occupational asbestos exposure.

What causes lung scarring?

Although it can be a health condition per se, lung scarring is often a symptom of a more complex disease, such as pulmonary fibrosis. Between 30,000 and 40,000 new cases of pulmonary fibrosis are diagnosed every year in the U.S. When lung scarring occurs, the tissue of the lung becomes thick and loses elasticity, thereby making breathing difficult for the patient. Lung scarring is usually accompanied by other symptoms as well, such as a dry cough, muscle and joint pain, fatigue, loss of appetite, nail clubbing, shortness of breath and weight loss.

There is a wide range of factors which may lead to lung scarring. However, the most common are the following:

  • a severe viral infection
  • gastroesophageal reflux disease
  • tobacco smoking
  • exposure to silica dust
  • chemotherapy or radiotherapy
  • pneumonia
  • exposure to coal dust
  • tuberculosis
  • asbestos exposure

Before 1980, asbestos was used by numerous industries, either to insulate equipment and buildings or to manufacture various products, since it has multiple convenient properties, such as fire resistance and durability. Some of the occupational groups with heavy exposure to asbestos are power plant workers, boilermakers, chemical plant workers, electricians, textile mill workers, insulators and oil refinery workers.

Asbestos is a known human carcinogen, according to national and international health organizations. When asbestos fibers become airborne, they will inevitably end up in the body of anyone who is in close proximity by inhalation or ingestion. As employers would not provide workers with appropriate protective equipment before 1980, even though they were aware of the dangers of exposure, people who performed their job in one of the aforementioned industries would breathe in considerable amounts of asbestos. Within 20 to 50 years, asbestos exposure may result in a terrible disease, such as lung cancer or mesothelioma.

However, before a disease occurs, asbestos fibers gradually cause inflammation and tissue scarring to the lungs, which are the most frequently affected organs in the body. Some people will only have lung scarring following occupational asbestos exposure, whereas others will end up suffering from significantly more serious diseases.

Why are people with lung scarring more susceptible to contracting the new virus?

Although there is a lot of new information to be discovered about the coronavirus, we know with certainty that it targets primarily the respiratory system. Since people who suffer from lung scarring have their respiratory system compromised, infection with the new virus is more likely to take place. Furthermore, it may cause serious health complications, as their immune system is very poor.

Some of the health complications the new virus can trigger in individuals with lung scarring are severe muscle pain, heart attack, irregular heart rate, acute respiratory distress syndrome, fatigue, cardiovascular shock and even death. Therefore, if you suffer from lung scarring and experience more intense symptoms than usual or a new onset of symptoms, you should seek medical attention immediately.

The main symptoms of coronavirus are:

  • a persisting cough
  • fever
  • shortness of breath

Nevertheless, if severe, infection with the new virus may also cause difficulty breathing, confusion, sneezing, inability to stand up, digestive problems, headache, a runny nose, sore throat and chest pain. As a person with lung scarring, you should be vigilant with regard to these symptoms, as they may indicate coronavirus infection.

Basic protective measures against coronavirus for people with lung scarring

If you struggle with lung scarring or with a disease which causes it, you should be extra careful when it comes to protecting yourself against infection with the new virus. The following are the basic measures you need to take in order to prevent contracting the coronavirus:

  • spend your time inside your house unless you need to go out for emergency reasons, such as to buy groceries or to visit a medical professional
  • wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water when you return home
  • avoid touching your mouth, nose and eyes if you have not previously washed your hands
  • disinfect the objects and surfaces you most often touch on a regular basis
  • keep a distance of at least 3 feet from any person you encounter outside
  • cough and sneeze by covering your nose and mouth with your elbow
  • keep yourself informed regarding the new virus and other protective measures you can take to avoid infection

People who have lung scarring may be entitled to financial compensation

If you developed lung scarring as a result of occupational asbestos exposure, our attorneys are here to provide you with quality legal assistance in order to help you recover the money you deserve for your injury. The medical experts we collaborate with will carefully examine your lungs for asbestos fibers and, in the unfortunate case they are present, our lawyers will file a claim with the asbestos trust funds of the companies whose products you handled on the job. Moreover, if you are a veteran who was exposed to asbestos while serving in the military, we will also file a claim with the VA to obtain the maximum amount of financial compensation possible for you.

It is important to know that asbestos exposure cases have a statute of limitations of 3 years, which allows you to file a claim only within this period of time. Consequently, we strongly advise you to contact our law firm as soon as you find out about your diagnosis, since asbestos exposure cases require a lot of time and effort to build. Lastly, you should know that, unless we recover compensation for you, you do not have to pay our legal experts anything, as we work on a contingency fee basis.