How Do You Prevent Silicosis?

by | May 31, 2018 | Blog, Lung Disease, Silicosis

Silicosis is an occupational lung disease caused by inhaling silica dust. Symptoms include severe coughing, weakness and shortness of breath. It can also make it difficult for your body to fight infections, and put you at a higher risk of other lung diseases like tuberculosis. There are three types:

  • Acute silicosis develops months or weeks after exposure to extreme levels of crystalline silica, and is the fastest progressing form of the disease.
  • Accelerated silicosis shows up five to 10 years after exposure to high levels of silica.
  • Chronic silicosis is the most common, and usually develops after 10 or more years of exposure to lower levels of crystalline silica.

Around 2.3 million people are exposed to what’s called “respirable silica dust” in the workplace. People who are most at risk of developing silicosis may have jobs where they’re using power tools to remove paint or rust, grinding mortar, working with concrete or finishing drywall. They may be construction workers on bridge or highway repair or in an occupation where they’re performing abrasive blasting. No matter the task, silicosis can remain undetected for a decade or more, so even with regular checkups, the disease may progress without your knowledge. That’s why it’s important to prevent silicosis with good workplace habits and procedures.

How to prevent silicosis

Occupational guidelines such as those released by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) point out that even if you can’t see silica dust, you may still be at risk of developing silicosis if you’re around the material for long enough, or exposed to high enough concentrations. NIOSH recommends:

  • Avoiding working around crystalline silica dust if possible.
  • Using water spray systems and ventilation in confined work areas.
  • Using respirators designed to protect against inhalation of crystalline dust.
  • Take advantage of any lung or health screenings your employer provides.
  • Change into clean clothes and shower before leaving your worksite.
  • After working around dust, thoroughly wash your hands before eating or drinking

Employers will generally follow a hierarchy when working to prevent silicosis in their workers: elimination of job tasks that create exposure, substitution of materials, engineering controls like ventilation, administrative controls like limited time spent around RCS, and personal protective equipment like respirators.

Cellular therapy may help treat the symptoms of silicosis

If you have already developed silicosis and are experiencing symptoms like difficult breathing, pain or shortness of breath, cellular therapy may be an option. This treatment option is sometimes taken in addition to medication, pulmonary rehabilitation or oxygen therapy, but unlike these alternatives, it targets the underlying cause of symptoms rather than just the symptoms themselves. By using the patient’s own cells, the Lung Health Institute’s cellular therapy helps encourage the growth of new, healthy lung tissue, which may help to reduce the inflammation in the lungs.
Take a moment to read through the testimonials of the patients who have found a new quality of life after undergoing our cellular therapy treatment. For more information about cellular therapy, contact us today at 855-882-1292.

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