Get Help With WRA

First, see your healthcare provider who usually treats your asthma (whether a family doctor, respirologist, or a specialist in WRA). Talk to them about recording peak flows on work days and off work (preferably before your work shift, mid-shift, post-shift and bedtime, recording 3 blows each time).

If you are diagnosed with work-related asthma your doctor may change your asthma medications. Your health-care provider can advise you on work conditions that should be safe for you in the future.

For example, if your asthma gets worse from temporary construction at work, then you may need a few days off or to move to a separate area until the construction is finished, or perhaps an increase in asthma medications for a short time.

Note: this article is an extensive article intended for health-care providers on the diagnosis and management of work-related asthma.

Allergists and Respirologists

If you work with high-molecular weight agents, then an allergist may be able to perform skin tests to see if you have an allergic response to them. A respirologist may ask you to have laboratory breathing tests (methacholine challenges) done at the end of a work week and the end of a period when you are off work to measure changes. They will also look at your peak flow readings to decide if there are changes that may relate to your work.

Your respirologist or allergist may know of specialists with expertise in work-related asthma who could help you further.

Occupational Medicine Clinics

Occupational medicine clinics can also help assess your work conditions and exposures. Some of these clinics for Ontario are listed in the Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers (OHCOW) website.

How to make a claim for compensation

A claim to the Workers Compensation Board (WCB) can be requested by yourself, your health-care professional, or your employer by filling up reports (some example forms) that are available from WCB websites of all provinces. Please note, these forms might vary from province to province. To make a claim, please visit the website of the workplace compensation board for your province:

  • Alberta
  • British Columbia
  • Manitoba
  • New Brunswick
  • Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Northwest Territories and Nunavut
  • Nova Scotia
  • Ontario
  • Prince Edward Island
  • Quebec
  • Saskatchewan
  • Yukon

A decision about accepting or denying a claim is made by the claims adjudicator at WCB and is not automatic. It will be more likely to be accepted when specialized medical tests confirm the relationship of asthma worsening with work.

Can I get the flu from the flu vaccine?

No, you cannot get the flu from the flu vaccine since the viruses in the vaccines have been altered so that they cannot cause an infection.

Is the flu vaccine safe?

Yes, the flu vaccine is generally very safe. There are so many flu vaccines given every year, yet very few significant side effects. Generally, the health risks from getting the flu are much greater than the health risks from the flu vaccine.

Why do I need a flu vaccine every year?

The flu viruses that spread around the world are different every year. Therefore the flu vaccine contains protection against a new set of viruses every year. Plus the immunity you get from a flu vaccine decreases over time. 

I’ve never had the flu. Why should I get the flu vaccine?

Even if you’ve never been in a serious vehicle collision in the past, do you still put on your seat belt? Most people do since it greatly reduces their risk of injury and death in the unlikely event of a vehicle collision. The fact that you have not been infected with the flu in the past does not mean you won’t be infected in the future. Getting the flu vaccine greatly reduces your risk of the flu.

Getting the flu vaccine also helps protect others who may not be able to fight off the infection as well as you. The more people who get vaccinated in a community, the less chance the infection spreads around.

What is the difference between a cold and the flu?

The common cold is a name given to minor infections in the nose and throat. The flu is a more serious disease caused by viruses that are different from cold viruses. Flu and cold infections are both very contagious.

With the flu, it is common to have a fever, headache, body aches, and weakness. With a cold, these symptoms are much less common.

If you are not sure if you have a cold or the flu, refer to the Public Health Agency of Canada chart, IS IT A COLD OR THE FLU?.