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Take these proactive steps if exposed to asbestos

Asbestos strikes fear into people's hearts. The horrific outcomes of those who have suffered and lost their lives due to asbestos-related diseases such as mesothelioma provide plenty of reason to be worried.

If you are exposed to this hazardous material, your health can be at risk. The best thing you can do is take proactive measures after realizing you have been exposed.

How people become exposed to asbestos

Many building products used asbestos because it has long and strong fibers that resist heat. Although the U.S. has discontinued asbestos mining operations, it remains prevalent in older buildings.

Exposure can lead to chronic lung disease and the cancerous tumors known as mesothelioma that strangle the lungs.

According to the CDC, numerous Americans have been unknowingly exposed to asbestos at some point in their lives. It is so common that it is safe to assume that some level of contact has probably occurred.

When asbestos exposure is dangerous

Breathing in asbestos particles heightens the risk of lung disease. According to the Mesothelioma Research and Treatment Center at Moffitt Cancer Center, it isn't clear the exact amount of asbestos exposure that is safe versus not safe. However, the more exposure you have the greater the risk.

The CDC reports that doctors may not be unable to detect asbestos fibers in the lungs immediately after contact. Exposure can take years to manifest as a health problem.

What to do if exposed to asbestos

Protective gear and breathing filters should be worn when exposure to asbestos is at all a possibility. If you discover asbestos in the workplace, report its presence immediately or contact a licensed asbestos abatement company.

If you have come in contact with asbestos, wash your body thoroughly and properly dispose of any clothing you wore. The cost of the shirt is not worth the risk of ongoing exposure to you or your family.

If you are worried about a history of exposure, contact your primary care physician and discuss having an X-ray or CT scan of your lungs conducted on an ongoing basis. It's imperative to diagnose mesothelioma and other asbestos-related ailments in their early stages. Warning signs often include chronic coughs and shortness of breath.

It's also important to contact an experienced mesothelioma attorney if your asbestos contact led to a health condition. Mesothelioma victims can expect a difficult and costly fight for their life, and legal options exist to help.

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