Byssinosis, also referred to as brown lung disease, is an occupational disorder characterized by the narrowing of the lung's airways. In the United States and Great Britain, byssinosis is usually caused by the inhalation of unprocessed cotton dust. Textile workers opening bales of raw cotton are at high risk of developing the lung disorder. Dusts from other vegetable fibers such as flax and hemp may also cause byssinosis.
Symptoms of byssinosis include, but may not be limited to, wheezing and tightness in the chest as well as a prolonged cough. Symptoms are usually worse at the beginning of the work week and improve away from the workplace. Persons who have worked with cotton for more than one year may show symptoms the entire week.
Physicians usually request that patients suffering from byssinosis control their dust intake. Patients with more serious symptoms may have to change jobs. Physicians may also prescribe asthma drugs and bronchodilators, which help open a user's airways.
- Lung & Airway Disorders