Hypersensitivity pneumonitis can develop over time in patients who are sensitive to mold spores in the air. One of the most common types of hypersensitivity pneumonitis is known as “farmer’s lung.” Farmer’s lung is a serious allergic reaction to mold found in hay and other types of crop material. Because farmer’s lung is so often undiagnosed, it can cause permanent damage in the form of scar tissue on the lung. This scar tissue, called fibrosis, can worsen until the patient begins to have trouble doing simple tasks.
Once farmer’s lung progresses to a more chronic form, symptoms may become more severe than simple histamine reactions. Farmer’s lung patients may experience:
- Blood-streaked sputum
- Muscular pain
Those who work around potentially moldy crop materials on a regular basis should watch for early histamine reactions and seek treatment if they suspect farmer’s lung may be developing. While mold exposure is generally not deadly, increased exposure can make symptoms worse. Mold allergies are progressive. Over time the attacks become more severe. The key is to prevent moisture from building up by repairing any leaks in your home.
If you notice a water build-up in any part of your home, stop the leak immediately. When working in situations where outdoor mold may be present, wearing a face mask can drastically reduce your exposure to the allergen. Masks that will protect your respiratory system from being affected by mold spore exposure are available.
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