Know About Byssinosis

ID-100225263Byssinosis is an occupational lung disease, caused by exposure to cotton dust among workers exposed to inadequately ventilated working environment in factories using cotton, such as textile mills. Although there is no second opinion about the cotton dust causing the disease, there are different theories as how cotton dust causes the disease. For example, some experts claim that the disease is directly caused by exposure to cotton dust, some expert claim that the disease is caused by endotoxins produced by bacteria that grows on cotton dust. The endotoxin theory is not accepted by the first group of experts for the fact that, workers in other industries also are also exposed to endotoxins, but they do not produce similar symptoms, as that of byssinosis.

Synonyms of byssinosis:

The disease is also known as “Monday fever” and “brown lung disease” (although lung does not turn brown).

What are the symptoms of byssinosis?

Symptoms and signs of byssinosis include

  • Mostly symptoms related to respiratory system such as breathing difficulty, tightness in chest, cough and wheezing
  • Narrowing of airways, scarring of lungs and death due to chest/lung infection and respiratory failure

Treatment of byssinosis:

Treatment of byssinosis includes use of medications as that for asthma, such as broncodilators (e.g. salbutamol, salmeterol etc.), inhaled corticosteroids (such as fluticasone, budesonide etc.). Cessation of smoking should be advised. Use of nebulizers and oxygen can improve symptoms of the disease.

Prevention of byssinosis is the most important method to reduce incidence of the disease. Preventive measures includes, improvement of ventilation and up-gradation of machinery, use of face musk at place of work, some workers may need change of job as preventive measure.

How common is byssinosis?

Byssinosis is not a common disease, especially in developed nations, where improved working condition at factories is available. For example, in the United States from 1990 to 1999 there were reported deaths of 81 cases related to byssinosis.

“Image courtesy of criminalatt /”.

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