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Do you worry about exposure to infectious diseases at work?

Working in the health care industry puts you in one of the most dangerous industries in which to work anywhere in the nation. Generally, it doesn't matter whether you work as a doctor or in food service; you have at least some risk of exposure to infectious diseases. The type of facility you work in may reduce your risk of exposure, but not entirely.

How you are at risk may differ, depending on your job. The less contact you have with patients, the less your risk when it comes to two of the three primary methods of exposure.

Ways infectious diseases can affect you

Transmission of infectious diseases often occurs in three ways:

  • Airborne: An infectious disease becomes airborne when tiny droplets remain in the air. Once in the air, they can travel, making face-to-face contact unnecessary. Fortunately, not all diseases survive long enough to remain infectious.
  • Droplet: When a person talks, coughs or sneezes, droplets expel that may contain an infectious disease. Droplets also form during certain medical procedures. Transmission occurs when the droplets come into contact with the mucosal surfaces of your eyes, mouth or nose.
  • Contact: Transmission through contact can be either direct or indirect. Indirect contact occurs when touching something that the infected person touched. Direct contact is skin to skin. 

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention both publish guidelines for limiting your risk of exposure. However, even if the facility in which you work takes the necessary precautions, you could still end up contracting an infectious disease.

Receiving workers' compensation benefits

If you do end up with an illness after exposure to an infectious disease, you may be eligible for workers' compensation benefits. You may receive benefits to cover your medical and medical-related expenses, along with a portion of your income while you are recovering. Depending on the circumstances, you may be eligible for other benefits as well.

Dealing with the application process, and a possible denial, would more than likely cause you stress that you don't need during this time. You may benefit from finding out more about your rights and obtaining some assistance as you navigate the workers' compensation system. Numerous people in your situation have relied on local Pennsylvania legal resources to help them receive the benefits they deserve, and you may find it beneficial to do the same.

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