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Silica is a common element found in sand, rock and quartz. Silicosis is a condition that is characterized by inhaling of to much of silica over a long period of time. People who work in environments that expose them to this element are at a greater risk of developing the condition. Silica dust particles act as tiny blades for the lungs when inhaled and can cause scarring of the lungs which will eventually lead to breathing difficulties. Silica can also cause lung cancer. Chest pain, fever, weight loss, night sweats and respiratory failure are the common symptoms.
HOW IS SILICOSIS DIAGNOSED?
A General Physician/Pulmonologist diagnoses Silicosis by conducting lung function and pulmonary function tests. In certain cases, the doctor may conduct a bronchoscopy and chest X-ray to test for scar tissues.
HOW IS SILICOSIS TREATED?
The aim of treatment will be to reduce your symptoms. Cough medicine can help with cough symptoms and antibiotics can help treat respiratory infections. Inhalers can be used to open up the airways. Further exposure to silica needs to be avoided.
DID YOU KNOW?
Prevention is the best way to go about this problem by using water spray in areas where dust emanates to avoid it from getting into the nose.