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Working in company involved in mixing Magnesium Chloride. Having breathing difficulty, watery eyes and running nose. Help?

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My 52 year old son worked as a mechanic at a gravel pit/construction site which in the late 1800's/ early 1900's was a smelter site and is now a Superfund site. About 3 years ago the company won a contract to mix Magnesium Chloride with sand for county deicing uses. As soon as he started working on the equipment used in the mixing he started having difficulty breathing, eyes watering & nose running and feeling generally tired all the time. It got worse over the next two years. A year ago it got so bad he could not continue working there. His health has worsened over the last year. He is plagued with nausea and vomiting several times a day, extremely red eyes, headaches, loss of appetite, weight loss, fever, night-sweats, tingling finger tips sometimes white, loss of sleep, tiredness. He was diagnosed about four months ago with COPD and Pancreaitis but given no medications. He has received numerous blood tests, chest xray, CAT scan of stomach and abdomen. So far the best guess is something called Valey disease or California disease. He did drink but has quit, continues to smoke.
Any ideas?
Concerned Father Three different blood tests came back normal, I don't know what they were.
Posted Sat, 8 Jun 2013 in Lung and Chest disorders
Answered by Dr. Shashi Dangwal 13 hours later

Thanks for posting your query on XXXXXXX

I have gone through your query in detail. In view of the history of smoking he could be suffering from COPD which has got aggravated by his working in dusty atmosphere. You have not mentioned if the tests that he has undergone were all normal or otherwise.

In view of history of alcohol intake(quantity and duration not mentioned) pancreatitis also needs to be ruled out. Consult a gastroenterologist.

Valley fever is a type of fungal infection caused by spores of fungus coccidioides and is common in people working with soil. It is generally of mild nature and does not require any treatment. It can be diagnosed by sputum test, blood test and x XXXXXXX or ct scan which will show some changes in the lungs.Though unlikely in your son`s case but in view of COPD, you may get him tested. You should consult a pulmonologist who will put him through relevant tests and subsequently guide you correctly.

In the meanwhile, it is advisable that your son quits smoking all together and takes treatment for COPD which the pulmonologist will advise you.

I do hope this answers you query and if you have any more questions, i will be glad to answer them.
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