Byssinosis is an industrial disease (also known as Brown Lung) that is brought on by breathing in the dust from vegetable fibres such as flax, hemp, cotton dust or sisal while in the workplace. The dust can be retained and cause an asthma type condition in the sufferer. Workers in the textile industry are at risk of developing byssinosis if the workplace is not adequately ventilated. It is unknown whether it is the cotton dust or the endotoxins that exist in the bacteria on the cotton dust that cause byssinosis.

Byssinosis symptoms

Depending on the severity and prolonged nature of the exposure, any symptoms may disappear at the end of the working day or in the more severe cases they will persist permanently.

Symptoms can include -

  • Breathing difficulties
  • Chest tightness
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing

Byssinosis treatment

Most importantly, if an individual is suffering from byssinosis it is imperative that exposure to the source of the dust is stopped. Ensuring that the workplace in well ventilated should help to prevent any incidence of byssinosis. If byssinosis has been diagnosed by a medical professional then it is possible that bronchodilators and/or corticosteroids will be prescribed and in more severe cases the use of nebulizers may be necessary along with home oxygen therapy. A possible complication that may develop due to contracting byssinosis is chronic bronchitis in the sufferer.