Farmer’s Lung, otherwise known as hypersensitivity pneumonitis, is an inflammatory response to the inhalation of dust. It is common in farmers who spend the majority of their time working in stables or around hay crops. Farmer’s Lung is caused by an allergy to the mould and dust spores from hay and other crops, often found floating around stable environments. Although not thought to be sinister, Farmer’s Lung disease can progress to become a chronic condition. The disease is considered to be dangerous for sufferers, often affecting the breathing of farmers for life.
The Symptoms of Farmer’s Lung
Farmer’s Lung can cause numerous symptoms, some worse than others. Some of the most common symptoms include:
- Dry irritating cough
- Rapid breathing
- Fever and chills
- Rapid heart rate
- Sudden feeling of nausea
- Lack of appetite
- Weakness and loss of appetite.
These symptoms can have a significant effect on the productivity of farmer’s carrying out their daily tasks. So, how do you prevent Farmer’s Lung and keep your lungs healthy while working in a demanding stable environment?
How to Control the Symptoms of Farmer’s Lung
Although there is no known cure for Farmer’s Lung, if you have it you can control it by avoiding exposure to any allergens that might cause your symptoms. If you already have Farmer’s Lung and would like to avoid worsening symptoms, you might try the following suggestions:
- Avoid dusty work
- Work outside as much as possible
- Wear a mask to protect your face
- Use fans and air filters to keep stable environments as clean as possible.
You can also speak to your doctor about taking steroid drugs to help slow down your symptoms and reduce the effects of inflammation. However, it is likely your doctor will only prescribe steroids if you have a chronic case of Farmer’s Lung.
How to Avoid Farmer’s Lung
If you work in a stable or on a farm and you would like to avoid contracting Farmer’s Lung, here are our top tips. If you would like more information, please contact us for further information. Alternatively, contact your doctor for their specialist and professional advice.
Dry Crops Before Storing
As already mentioned, Farmer’s Lung is caused by a reaction to the inhalation of mould and dust spores. Therefore, it is important you keep your stored crops free from mould and bacteria growth. Be sure to thoroughly dry out all crops before storing. This will ensure they do not grow mouldy during storing, reducing the likelihood of you contracting Farmer’s Lung disease.
Wear a Dust Mask
When working in a stable environment or a hay barn, protect your respiratory system by wearing a dust mask or respirator. This will protect your lungs from any hay or crop dust and mould inhalation, keeping your lungs clear from obstructions and irritants. Dust masks are especially important to wear when moving hay or clearing out the stable. In any circumstance where dust may be stirred up in your working environment, it is essential you wear a dust mask to prevent inhalation.
Provide Plenty of Ventilation
Ventilation is one of the most important things you can do to prevent Farmer’s Lung – especially when working in confined areas. Provide as much ventilation as possible in the stable or hay barn environment, keeping all doors and windows open. Ventilation helps keep the air clean and clear. You can even install a fan or an extractor to remove all dust particles from the air and avoid the likelihood of contracting Farmer’s Lung.
Work Outside Often
Naturally, one of the best ways to avoid Farmer’s Lung is to work outside as frequently as possible, soaking up all the fresh air you can. Working outside has significant health benefits and can help both reduce the symptoms of Farmer’s Lung and avoid the contraction of the disease in the first place. So, where possible, we would always recommend prioritising working outside – even when it’s cold!
Contact Us Today
I hope you have found this article useful. It has certainly helped our staff avoid the frustrating and dangerous side effects of Farmer’s Lung. If you would like more information about Farmer’s Lung, the best preventative measures and the tactics we use to keep our staff safe in the stables, please call us today. Our friendly staff would be more than happy to answer any questions you may have!