What is it?
This is a lung disease caused by an unknown agent in the dust produced during the processing of flax, cotton, hemp or jute. It is also called, Brown Lung disease. It is a chronic, asthma-like narrowing of the airways.
The breathing problems result from exposure to high level of dusts and from longer exposure to dusts of the products highlighted above. Workers who also smoke cigarette suffer the most impairment.
What are the symptoms?
Byssinosis produces a feeling of tightness in the chest and shortness of breath that may be chronic.
In chronic byssinosis (the risk of which is increased by smoking), the sufferer is short of breath even when away from work.
Treatment & Prevention
Therapy focuses on the use of;
Antihistamines (Prescribed to reduce chest tightness).
Bronchodilators (drugs used to relax breathing passages/airway for easy respiration).
Prevention is always better than cure. This is ensured by wearing face masks and by reduction of dust levels.
Byssinosis is a prescribed disease and sufferers are entitled to industrial injury benefits.
What to do?
If you work in any industry that involve the use of these things, consult your occupational therapist or your healthcare provider.