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Pulmonary fibrosis increases the risk of contracting coronavirus

By Michael Bartlett

Posted on March 20th, 2020

As their respiratory and immune system are very poor, people suffering from pulmonary fibrosis have a greater risk of contracting the coronavirus. They are also more likely to develop health complications from the new virus, such as acute respiratory distress syndrome or heart attack.

As a disease that occurs when there is serious tissue scarring in the lungs, pulmonary fibrosis affects between 30,000 and 40,000 people in the U.S. every year. One of the causes of pulmonary fibrosis is occupational asbestos exposure which took place in environments such as shipyards, power plants, textile mills, oil refineries, and chemical plants. When one breathes in asbestos fibers, they will attach themselves to the lungs, remaining there forever, and gradually producing inflammation and tissue scarring.

Why are pulmonary fibrosis patients more susceptible to coronavirus?

Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, has claimed the lives of over 10,000 people around the world so far and the number of new cases is increasing every day.

The demographics which are at high risk of severe health complications or even death are the elderly, children, and people who struggle with pulmonary fibrosis. Because coronavirus targets the respiratory system, pulmonary fibrosis patients have a greater chance of developing health complications if they contract the virus, as their lungs, as well as their immune system, are already damaged.

When the condition of your lungs is poor, you have more chances of contracting the virus, which may have dire health consequences. Thereby, you will experience the symptoms of coronavirus, which include shortness of breath, fever, and a lingering cough, to their most intense rate. If you fail to follow the appropriate hygiene rules and protective measures, you can become infected with the virus very easily because of your weak health. However, the symptoms of coronavirus are very similar to those of pulmonary fibrosis, so it may be difficult to differentiate between the two conditions. Therefore, if you experience more persistent symptoms than usual, please seek medical attention immediately.

What health complications may pulmonary fibrosis patients diagnosed with coronavirus develop?

Infection with coronavirus can occur in the upper or lower part of the respiratory system. When it develops in the latter, the likelihood of coming to suffer from terrible health complications, such as a new type of pneumonia, which stems only from the virus, is very high if you also struggle with pulmonary fibrosis. Cardiac complications are also very common with coronavirus. Other awful complications it may cause include:

  • severe muscle pain
  • heart attack
  • irregular heart rate
  • acute respiratory distress syndrome
  • fatigue
  • cardiovascular shock

How can pulmonary fibrosis patients avoid contracting coronavirus?

Since coronavirus has reached nearly every part of the world by now, it may seem impossible to protect yourself from contracting it. Nevertheless, by following the simple rules below, you will remain safe and thereby have a lower risk of being diagnosed with the virus:

  • maintain a distance of 3 to 6 feet from anyone when you are in the public
  • wash your hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • avoid touching your nose, eyes, and mouth if you were outside and did not wash your hands yet
  • cover your nose and mouth with your elbow when sneezing or coughing, regardless of whether you have pulmonary fibrosis or the virus
  • take time off work if you do not feel well to avoid contaminating your co-workers, whether you have the common flu or coronavirus
  • stay up to date with the news concerning coronavirus and follow the advice of healthcare providers and medical professionals
  • disinfect surfaces and objects you use on a regular basis, such as phones, desks, computers, doorknobs, light switches, keyboards, and toilets, to avoid contamination
  • limit the time you spend outside and go out only if you really need to, such as to buy groceries or to get healthcare

Recovering financial compensation as a pulmonary fibrosis patient

If your diagnosis is a consequence of occupational asbestos exposure, you have the right to take legal action and seek financial compensation for your physical and emotional distress. Pulmonary fibrosis is a serious disease with no cure which affects your daily life to a great extent. Therefore, we strongly encourage you to file a claim with the asbestos trust funds of the companies whose products you handled on the job with the help of a specialized attorney.

A lawyer whose main area of practice involves asbestos exposure cases will be able to provide you with quality legal assistance and eventually obtain the maximum amount of money you are eligible for. Not only will seeking compensation help you afford better healthcare and treatment, but it will also hold the liable party responsible for their negligent actions.