Occupational physicians specialize in the study, diagnosis, and treatment of a vast range of illnesses caused by the industrial environment. Occupational medicine began with industrial and business clinics, which were usually staffed by a physician and an industrial nurse (one who has specialized in the care of patients within a working environment).
Asbestos-induced cancer, "black lung" (in which coal dust literally turns the inside of the lungs black), allergic reactions to industrial fibers, and injury to the feet from jobs that require standing are but a few of the hundreds of disorders treated by physicians that practice occupational medicine.
Specialists in occupational medicine generally have a strong background in internal medicine, with special training in the causes of industry-related illnesses. Often these doctors complete a public health program before going on to their specialty residency.
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