Farmer's lung is caused by the inhalation of antigens through dust from manure, hay, soil, grain, straw, vegetable composts, sugar cane and mushroom piles. Initially, farmer's lung may resemble respiratory symptoms similar to the common cold or pneumonia. If left untreated, the disorder may cause permanent lung damage
or even death. Unfortunately, due to its symptoms, farmer's lung is often misdiagnosed for a less severe illness.
Farmers may inhale a large amount of dust in a very short period of time depending on their location. Antigen loads in barns and silos may be especially harmful. A farmer is capable of inhaling over 750,000 actinomycete spores from moldy hay per minute. The dust is so fine it avoids defense systems in the nose and throat and reaches the inner parts of the lungs. When the body's immune system fights the particles, scarring (fibrosis) often results. This scarring is often permanent.
Symptoms of farmer's lung include, but may not be limited to, fever, chills, cough, difficulty breathing, muscle pain
and hypersensitivity pneumonitis
- Lung & Airway Disorders
- Agricultural Workers: Overview