Types of Pneumoconiosis(silicosis,anthracosis, byssinosis, bagassosis,asbestosis)its features and first aid treatment

Types of Pneumoconiosis and its features

Their features are as shown in the following table.

Type                         Features                       Preventive measures

Silicosis – It is due to inhalation of dust containing free silica or silicon oxide.  It is found in mining, ceramic industry, slate- pencil industry, and blasting metal grinding, building and  construction work, rock mining, iron and steel industry. The higher the concentration of free silica in the dust, greater the risk of development of the disease. There is a dense nodular fibrosis in the victim’s lungs. Early symptoms include irritant cough, pain in chest, and breathlessness on exertion. –  rigorous dust control measures should be used, e.g., substitution, and complete enclosure. Workers should have regular physical examination.

Anthracosis – it occurs in coal miners. It takes 12 years of exposure for it to develop. There are carbon deposits in the lungs. In the first stage there is little ventilator impairment. In the second stage there is progressive fibrosis of the lungs. There is severe respiratory impairment and finally death.  –  rigorous dust control measures should be used. Workers should use face masks while working. They should have regular physical examination.  

Byssinosis – it is due to inhalation of cotton fiber dust. It occur in workers who work with cotton after it is bleached. There is emphysema and chronic bronchitis. The victim experiences wheezing and tightness in the chest.- dust control measures should be observed.

Bagassosis – it is due to inhalation of sugarcane dust or bagasse. There is breathlessness, cough, slight fever, and hemoptysis. There is slight impairment of pulmonary function. – dust control measures should be observed, e.g. wt process, enclosed apparatus, and exhaust ventilation. Workers should use masks.

Asbestosis – it is caused by protracted inhalation of asbestos particles in industry manufacturing asbestos cement. It takes 5 to 10 years of exposure for the disease to develop. There is pulmonary fibrosis leading to respiratory insufficiency, carcinoma of the bronchus in some cases, and death. The victim has breathlessness, clubbing of fingers and cyanosis. The sputum contains asbestos fibres coated with fibrin. – the safer type of asbestos should be used. Other insulating agents like calcium silicate, glass fiber, mineral wool, plastic foams etc. should be used instead of asbestos.


It is an acute  infectious disease contracts from contact with hair, hides or waste of cattle, sheep, horses and goats. Veterinarians and butchers may also suffer from it.

The condition is diagnosed by the following features.

  1. There are skin pustules, with redness, vesiculation, induration, and central ulceration.
  2. There is malignant edema of the lungs, necrosis of lymph nodes and pleural effusion.
  3. Respiratory distress and cyanosis follow.
  4. Finally the victim goes in shock and coma.

First Aid

  1. Maintain oral hygiene and skin care.
  2. For person with pulmonary involvement, monitor vital signs.
  3. Encourage oral fluid intake.
  4. Give frequent, small, nutritious meals.
  5. Use gloves and mask when handling the victim.
  6. Incinerate the contaminated material.

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