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Air Quality Warnings and Chronic Respiratory Diseases

As wildfires rage throughout Ontario and Quebec, the skies above cities and communities as far as New York City have turned hazy and smoky. The smell of campfire is permeating throughout the region. Pollution has reached dangerous levels, and special air quality warnings have been issued across Ontario.

This unprecedented wildfire smoke blanketing Ontario has caused the air quality to plummet, prompting the cancellation of outdoor activities, including school recesses, from Northern Ontario to the Greater Toronto Area. The Air Quality Health Index indicates that the current conditions pose a high risk to everyone.

However, the poor air quality poses an even greater risk to certain vulnerable Ontarians, including the elderly, pregnant people, children, and those with chronic respiratory diseases. Those who suffer from lung disease and other respiratory issues are at an extreme risk of experiencing negative health impacts as a result of the poor air quality.

Chronic respiratory diseases can impact a person’s ability to carry out regular daily activities. These chronic diseases often cause people to suffer reduced lung function and persistent breathing problems. Examples of chronic respiratory diseases include:

For individuals suffering from chronic respiratory diseases, the impact of poor air quality can be especially challenging. Their regular symptoms combined with the significant reduction in air quality can make it difficult for people with these lung issues to go outdoors, participate in routine activities, or even go to work.

Understanding Chronic Respiratory Diseases

Chronic respiratory diseases encompass a range of conditions affecting the airways and lungs, making breathing difficult and impairing the respiratory system’s proper functioning. Individuals with these conditions often experience persistent symptoms, including:

  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest tightness
  • Excessive mucus production
  • And more

Living with chronic respiratory diseases means facing various challenges on a daily basis. Simple activities like climbing stairs, walking, or even carrying out household chores can become daunting tasks for people with compromised respiratory systems.

The constant struggle to breathe and the unpredictability of symptom flare-ups can take a toll on their physical and emotional well-being. Moreover, the increased susceptibility to respiratory infections can lead to profound anxiety and the need for hyper-vigilance. The fear of hospitalization often looms large for people suffering from chronic respiratory diseases. Because of this, people suffering from these conditions are often concerned about their surroundings and activity levels, which can lead to a reduction in their overall quality of life.

Long-Term Disability Benefits for People Suffering from Chronic Respiratory Diseases

For certain people, the physical challenges and mental exhaustion associated with their respiratory issues can make it impossible to continue working in their chosen profession. Depending on the insurance coverage available to them through their employer’s group plan or a policy they hold privately, people suffering from chronic respiratory diseases that impede their ability to continue working may qualify for long-term disability (LTD) benefits.

LTD benefits provide recipients with a portion of their regular earnings if their illnesses or injuries make it impossible for them to carry out the duties of their jobs. These benefits are typically available after exhausting the other forms of insurance available to an eligible policyholder, including short-term disability and employment insurance (EI).

However, insurance providers do not always make it easy for eligible applicants to get the benefits they should be owed. It can be exceptionally difficult for an LTD benefits claim to receive approval, particularly for policyholders suffering from pre-existing conditions.

A pre-existing condition is any type of medical condition that was sustained before a policyholder’s insurance plan took effect. As such, certain chronic respiratory diseases will be considered pre-existing conditions by insurance providers.

Asthma, in particular, is often diagnosed in childhood, with symptoms sometimes beginning to present during infancy. Even when diagnosed and treated throughout one’s childhood and adolescence, the symptoms of asthma can persist throughout adulthood, impacting every facet of a person’s life, including their ability to work in various conditions and settings.

Unfortunately, if the symptoms of an individual’s pre-existing condition begins to impact their ability to perform the duties of their job, it can be difficult for them to receive LTD benefits coverage. Many insurance plans have lengthy “exclusionary periods,” during which a policyholder is ineligible for benefits payments. These exclusionary periods are put into place to prevent people suffering from pre-existing conditions from claiming benefits before they have paid regular monthly premiums for an extended period of time.

If you are suffering from a chronic respiratory disease and can no longer work as a result, you may be entitled to LTD benefits. If your claim for benefits was denied, our Ontario long-term disability benefits lawyers may be able to assist you. Contact us today to learn more.

Precautions to Take During Air Quality Warnings

During periods of poor air quality, individuals with chronic respiratory diseases should take extra precautions to minimize risks and alleviate potential symptoms. By staying indoors, staying informed, and staying vigilant, the people most profoundly affected by dangerous air quality could mitigate the risks and protect their physical health.

Here are some safety tips for people in at-risk groups, including those suffering from chronic respiratory diseases:

  • Stay Informed: Keep track of air quality updates through local news, weather apps, or air quality monitoring websites. Pay attention to daily air quality index reports and heed warnings issued by Environment Canada.
  • Limit Outdoor Activities: Minimize exposure to outdoor pollutants by staying indoors as much as possible, especially during peak pollution hours. If you must go outside, consider wearing an N95 respiratory mask.
  • Create a Clean Indoor Environment: Maintain good indoor air quality by keeping windows and doors closed during periods of high pollution. Use air purifiers with HEPA filters to reduce indoor particle levels and ensure proper ventilation.
  • Take Medications as Prescribed: Adhere to prescribed medications and inhalers consistently, even if your symptoms are mild. If you feel it is necessary to increase your dosage during air quality warnings, consult with your physician.
  • Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water to keep the respiratory tract moist, which can help alleviate symptoms such as coughing and dry throat.
  • Seek Medical Attention: Symptoms of chronic respiratory diseases can worsen, even after taking all necessary precautions. If you experience breathing difficulties during air quality warnings, seek immediate medical attention.

Contact Preszler Injury Lawyers for a Free Initial Consultation

If you are unable to continue working because of symptoms related to your chronic respiratory disease, you may be entitled to LTD benefits coverage from your insurance provider. To learn more about the options that might be available to you, contact us today and schedule a free initial consultation with our Ontario long-term disability benefits lawyers.

Experts have warned that our most dangerous wildfire season ever is only just beginning. Air quality throughout the province could only continue to deteriorate over the summer. For those suffering from chronic respiratory diseases, the notion of working throughout an extended period of hazardous air quality could seem like an impossibility. To learn how our Ontario long-term disability lawyers may be able to help you get the coverage you deserve, schedule your free initial consultation with Preszler Injury Lawyers today.

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