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Inhaled tile dust. CT scan showed minor patches of infiltrates on upper lobe. Worried for acute silicosis

Jan 2013
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Answered by

Internal Medicine Specialist
Practicing since : 2003
Answered : 1658 Questions
hi, I have had a very bad experience happen to me about three months ago. We hired someone to install procelein tile in our home and the ended up cutting some of the tile in our basement and a significant amount of fine dust came upstairs. I thought it would settle and we could clean it up. My girlfriend wouldnt leave the house and we stayed in the bedroom and I am afraid breathed a bunch of it in for what was almost a week, with what seemed to be most of it being cleaned up after three or four days. After that week, my lungs felt full of crystals and very heavy. I left the house then and continued to get very ill. I went to a couple Doctors and they just gave me a rescue inhaler and predsidone. After a couple weeks, my chest then felt on fire and hollow and I could hardly breath.

I had a pft test at about six weeks and was low on the exhale. I then went to a pulmologist which gave me a steroid inhaler and budesidone in a nebulizer. They gave a ct scan also and it showed a few minor patches of infiltrates on my upper right lobe. They all say that I should heal with time.
It has been going on three months and I want to think that i am getting better, but still tightness around my back rib cage and chest. It seems to get tighter after i take a few deep breaths. I still have a type of crystal dry cough, but only voluntarily. I find myself wanting to try and clear it a couple times a day. Also an almost hollow whistly sound when i exhale fast.
I had another pft test last week and another xray and the Dr. said they both look good.

I feel so ashamed and angry at myself for not leaving that house. I am afraid that maybe This is as good as it will get and I have suffered permanent lung damage, like copd or emphazyma?

Do I have to also fear silicosis for the next couple years?

How long does it take for me to be either in the clear or a determination that something is chronic?

I am just afraid that the pft and xray, and even ct only show so much and maybe I have permanent scarring in my respiratory system. and or lungs.?

It seemed like it was settling after a day or so, but every time i tried to move and clean it just kept getting kicked up. I did not know what I was up against and what even happened or that someone would do that to us and our home....Now I fear it is too late for me.


Posted Tue, 14 May 2013 in Medicines and Side Effects
Answered by Dr. Mayank Bhargava 9 hours later
Welcome to XXXXXXX forum.

Let me know your other associated symptoms along with mentioned?
Do you have fever/ chest pain/ running nose or blockage of nose?
Were you a heavy chain smoker in past?
At what time breathing is worsening?
What was the report of PFT? Whether restrictive or obstructive pattern.
What is your occupation?

Exact diagnosis could be made on the basis of your supportive symptoms.
With the available described symptoms, there appears to be high possibility of obstructive lung disease with presence of consequence of past smoking.
Although you are worried about the tile dust inhalation but in my personal opinion,there appears to be least possibility of such problems and you shouldn't worry about this.
Persistent long lasting inhalation of dust, cotton, silicon, fungal fumes may cause restrictive pattern with possibility of Interstitial lung disease.

Once in a while, inhalation of such dust won't cause your symptoms.
There could be possibility of triggering of acute exacerbation of COPD/ bronachial asthma after inhalation.
Possibility of Cough variant asthma (CVA) should also be kept in mind.
Cough variant asthma (CVA) is a type of asthma in which clinical examination and all relevant investigations are normal and patient makes complaints of chest tightness and suffocation.
Inhaler bronchodilators (containing beta 2 agonist and anticholinergics) are the preferred choice of drug for CVA.

You should consult with XXXXXXX medicine specialist/ chest physician and should go for thorough check up.
You should also go for complete blood count, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, bronchoscopy guided aspiration & biopsy, IgE.

You should continue with your prescribed medicine and if your condition won't improve then you should also take low dose of Deflazacort.
Use of bronchodilator is needed or not is decided by clinical examination.

You should avoid cold drinks, sour and oily food.
Perform, gargles three times in a day; a glass of lukewarm water with a pinch of salt.

Hope that helps.
Let me know your other query.
Take care,
Dr. Mayank Bhargava
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Inhaled tile dust. CT scan showed minor patches of infiltrates on upper lobe. Worried for acute silicosis 7 hours later

My chest and back seem tighter when I lay down.
I have that dry feeling when i exhale hard, And when i try and cough.
It does seem like a funny taste in my mouth the last couple days when i do both of those things.
My xyphoid process is pretty swollen.
I want to rest most of the time. I am in bed mostly.
My chest does a small dull pain when i inhale/exhale deeply. It seems to have almost gone away today.
I have been sweating at night the last three nights also. Not much but a little bit.
I was a somewhat of a heavy smoker in the past.
I have worked in restaurants in the past and have my real estate license now.

I talked the pulmonologist's nurse yesterday and asked for more predisone. They gave to me yesterday and i feel a little better already. They gave me predisone maybe one week after this happened, three months ago, and just inhalers and nebulizer up until now.

I had such bad inflammation when i left the house. I thought i was going to die. My mouth was twitching. I think i had toxic shock also. I am really afraid that I have acute silicosis and this is the end for me.

I just need to explain that there was a lot of dust in the house. I was trying to open the windows but it was way below freezing outside. I then vacuumed with a shopvac but everything i moved just kicked up more. The person used a grinder cutter thing in my basement and there was no door on or anything. He said he used a shopvac to control the dust but that does not work well.

I kept telling my girlfriend that we needed to leave but she would not. She stayed in the bedroom and i slept in there also, but i know the dust was coming in. I fear sleeping there was the biggest mistake of my life. It seemed like maybe after three or four days it was almost gone, but still some residual dust that i kept trying to clean up all the way.

Is it possible that I could have acute silicosis? I guess porcelain tile does have a high silica content.
Or if I have Copd, I could have it for life?
I have to elaborate a little more. So when i left the house after one week, we had a person come over to redo the hardwood floors, in which i thought that would take care of whatever residual dust that may be in the house. We stayed i a motel for one week and then returned. There seemed to still be residual dust in the house so I left after three or four days, realizing i was not going to get better there, but worse. That has been three months now, since i have been there.
and my PFT was a low on the exhale six weeks ago. I took another PFT one week ago and it showed normal, but I had to keep retrying it to get it within range on the exhale. They took another xray last week and said that was fine also.
I am realizing that I do still have a dull pain in my chest occasionally when i take a deep breath. And just tired after a two or three deep breaths.
Answered by Dr. Mayank Bhargava 9 hours later
There could also be possibility of irritation of cough receptors as you have persistent dry cough also.
Acute silicosis is associated with severe respiratory problems, fever, cough with sputum so possibility of acute silicosis appears to be low.
Meanwhile, you should continue with predinisone and take bronchodilator inhalational therapy.
You should also take Zileuton and levocetrizine.
Get well soon,
Dr. Mayank Bhargava
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Inhaled tile dust. CT scan showed minor patches of infiltrates on upper lobe. Worried for acute silicosis 29 minutes later

I really do not cough much. It has just been voluntary to see if they dry crystal sound is still there. It does seem to be getting better, but still dry.

I do feel like I have respiratory problems, such as the tight chest, and mid to lower back. i feel my body really became overwhelmed by something. The silica or the alkaline. I am not sure, but I was very inflammed and ill.

I do feel like I am getting a tiny bit better everyday. It is frustrating, but different pains seem to have gone.

So do you think I can recover from this? Maybe I can get back to normal someday? I was hiking for several miles everyday with my dog before this happened. He became very sick too, I thought of putting him down everyday the first month or so, but I could not give up on him. He seems to be recovering slowly also...I am sorry, but I keep reading that acute silicosis is associated with dry cough?

Do you think I could just have a temporary thing, like maybe RADs?
Answered by Dr. Mayank Bhargava 5 hours later
Treatment of interstitial lung disease contains prednisone and you must continue under guidance of your treating doctor.
In my personal opinion, your condition improves on the above advised treatment.
Best regards,
Dr. Mayank Bhargava
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Inhaled tile dust. CT scan showed minor patches of infiltrates on upper lobe. Worried for acute silicosis 4 hours later
It has been two days on the prednisone and I do feel better.

So do you think I may have interstiltial lung disease? It is irreversable, and I will die soon?

Answered by Dr. Mayank Bhargava 32 minutes later
You should continue with prednisone as per advised of your treating doctor.
Inhalational of dust may cause interstitial lung disease and it treatment is prednisone and you are getting benefits.
So your all features are supportive of ILD.
Five year survival rate of non specific interstitial lung disease is 82-90% and you should protect yourself from further exposure to dust.
Wishing a speedy recovery.
Dr. Mayank Bhargava
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Inhaled tile dust. CT scan showed minor patches of infiltrates on upper lobe. Worried for acute silicosis 1 hour later
hey Doctor, Just a quick follow up. I asked another Dr. on here and he thinks I have interstitial lung disease. Do you think it is possible?
Answered by Dr. Mayank Bhargava 46 minutes later
I am also defining the same disease ILD (interstitial lung disease).
You should continue prednisone.
Take care,
Dr. Mayank Bhargava
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Inhaled tile dust. CT scan showed minor patches of infiltrates on upper lobe. Worried for acute silicosis 53 minutes later
oh sorry, i meant to ask the other different doctor.

This is serious tho. The other doctor just thought RADs. He things six months to 12 months and i should be normal?

My xray and pft are normal for now. Do you not think I still may have a chance to be normal again?
Answered by Dr. Mayank Bhargava 8 minutes later
IF you are suffering from ILD, then your condition may improve with time but some sort of dysfunction may remain.
Its very difficult to predict at this moment of time.
Each and every person has different response with medicines.
Take care,
Dr. Mayank Bhargava
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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