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Diagnosing and Treating Byssinosis

The history of working in an occupation where there is exposure to textile dust with symptoms suggesting byssinosis is a common way the diagnosis is made. Special testing is sometimes required to confirm the causative factors.

What to Expect

Symptoms are most severe on first exposure after a break and slowly decrease as the workweek progresses. Over time, symptoms occur during the workweek, and later all the time. Cough with phlegm may develop over the long term.

How Byssinosis Is Diagnosed

Pulmonary function (breathing) tests can help determine how the disease has affected the lungs. Function of the lungs may vary by the day of the week, as well as with treatment.

How Byssinosis Is Treated

Avoiding the occupational cause is the most effective way to reduced symptoms and prevent lung damage. The use of bronchodilators (medicines that increase the width of the airways) may be very useful. Inhaled anti-inflammatory medications like inhaled steroids may decrease inflammation. These medications are the same ones used for asthma.

    This content was developed in partnership with the CHEST Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the American College of Chest Physicians.

    Page Last Updated: July 29, 2019

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