How to avoid mesothelioma?
While it is true that many new horizons are being uncovered in the treatment of mesothelioma, when a cure would be found is not known. The best bet at the moment is ensuring you do not come down with the disease. The only surefire way to protect yourself from mesothelioma is by avoiding exposure to asbestos. Although this sounds simple enough, it could be very hard to practice in reality.
Asbestos is virtually ubiquitous and there is no sign this is going to change anytime soon. Our homes, offices, schools, recreational parks and even our soil (in some localities) contain some amount of asbestos and many of us are at risk of exposure. For some of us, it might be that we have been exposed already, and the latency period is already counting down. This is not to say, though, that everybody that gets exposed to inhaled asbestos would eventually come down with mesothelioma.
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Much has been done to ensure construction and manufacturing companies adhere to safety guidelines. The Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation has instated many awareness programs in the hope of stopping asbestos production and trade both on a local and global scale. But much work still needs to be done at the individual level. You should be aware of the dangers asbestos pose to your health and be deliberate about limiting exposure. Before moving into any house, be sure to check in with the realtor and inquire about the construction materials.
If you live in an old house, there is a high chance some of the construction materials are made of asbestos. It is imperative to call in professionals to confirm the presence or otherwise and check if there is any risk of exposure. You should know that the presence of asbestos is not reason enough for you to leave your home or workplace. The important thing is to ensure the material is not damaged or disturbed by activities such as drilling. Damaged asbestos release fibers into the air and inhaling the fibers is hazardous to your health.
Furthermore, if you notice any damaged asbestos product in your home, avoid performing any Do It Yourself repairs. You should call a professional and ensure the professional in question is well versed on safety rules in handling asbestos products. You may need to vacate your house for the period of renovation. Do not hesitate to do so if the professional advises such.
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Your work may also put you at greater risk of asbestos fiber inhalation. Miners, shipbuilders, automotive workers, manufacturers and installers of insulation materials are some of the workers belonging to this category. You should ensure your company follows safety guidelines and carries out regular testing to determine the amount of asbestos in the air. If some specific procedures such as renovation or drilling would increase your exposure, you should put on protective equipment.
If you have already been exposed to asbestos or if you feel you might have been exposed, there is no reason to panic just yet. Not everyone exposed would eventually come down with the disease. All you need to do is monitor your health regularly. A simple blood test that is capable of detecting mesothelioma before it gets symptomatic is available. You can carry out this test routinely. The first symptoms are usually respiratory problems and you should particularly watch out for those. Importantly, adopt a healthy eating habit as it could help boost your immunity. If you are addicted to smoking or alcohol consumption, your chances of coming down with mesothelioma are very much higher. You should work on quitting to keep yourself healthy.
Remember asbestos materials do not pose any risk to your health as long as they are left intact. Before tampering with any asbestos material, ensure you contact a professional and you would be making a headway in protecting yourself from mesothelioma.
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- American Cancer Society. (2015, May 18). What are the risk factors for malignant mesothelioma? Retrieved from http://www.cancer.org/Cancer/MalignantMesothelioma/DetailedGuide/malignant-mesothelioma-risk-factors
- Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety. (2016, January 7). Asbestos Control Strategies for Workplaces. Retrieved from http://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/chemicals/asbestos/control.html
- Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry. (2001, September). Public Health Statement for Asbestos. Retrieved from http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/phs/phs.asp?id=28&tid=4
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (2015, September 21). School Buildings. Retrieved from http://www.epa.gov/asbestos/school-buildings