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What is popcorn lung?

On Behalf of | Jun 30, 2021 | Workplace Illness |

All workers face hazards at the workplace to some degree and description. Despite how hard employers work to eliminate as much risk as possible, some will always exist. Some risks are simply inherent in jobs, too.

For example, if your job involves exposure to certain airborne particles or smokes, you may find yourself at risk for popcorn lung. But what is this disease and how does it impact you?

Symptoms and onset

Healthline takes a look at popcorn lung, a colloquial term for bronchiolitis obliterans. This affects the bronchioles, which serve as the smallest airways in the lungs. Coughing, shortness of breath, and trouble breathing may all occur if they get agitated or irritated. Over time, this irritation causes scarring which creates permanent breathing issues.

Popcorn lung often mimics the effects of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which often has similar causes. You may experience the first symptoms of popcorn lung 2 to 8 weeks after your initial exposure to any harmful particles, toxic fumes or chemicals. However, in some cases such as lung transplants, the symptoms may take years before they surface.

Symptoms may include trouble breathing, chest pain, dizziness and shortness of breath. You may also experience unexplained fatigue, weight loss, flu-like illness and wheezing. Irritation around the eyes, nose or mouth may indicate exposure to toxic chemicals, too.

Methods of treatment

Though there are no treatments for popcorn lung, you can undergo treatment to help alleviate the symptoms. This can include immunosuppressant therapy and prescription corticosteroids. Of course, the cost of treatment is often high. This is why many people in your shoes choose to contact legal help and seek compensation.