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Dr. Andrew Rynne
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Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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What causes sore throat, weight gain and anxiety post exposure to battery fumes?

Answered by
Dr.
Dr. Vivek Chail

Radiologist

Practicing since :2002

Answered : 6675 Questions

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Posted on Sat, 17 Sep 2016 in General Health
Question: I was at work a year and half ago and experienced battery fume exposure. The fumes were related to the fact that batteries were left in equipment when sterilized. I experienced several short term concerns such as sob and tenderness and readiness in throat as well feeling lifeless. I am still sob on ocassion, sore throat on an off but now intergestion with some foods, weight gain and some memory and attention concerns as well as anxiety. However, my real concern is the long term effects that I have not yet experienced. Any advise would be appreciated as especially because I don't have insurance at the moment and just would like to get an idea of the future. This was a large hospital sterilizer heated above 350..I am of Irish decent and German as well. I am very concerned of my health - another employee placed the batteries in the sterilizer to hurt me. I am asking for the company to Assit with future healthcare and feel that they will agree as its a state run facility and healthcare is free for employees. Truly though doc...my concerns are in my symptoms worsening as well as future concerns for my lungs esophagus brain and nervous system. I know that I am not young but I would like the quality of life I had before and would like to meet my grandchildren.
doctor
Answered by Dr. Vivek Chail 36 minutes later
Brief Answer:
It is a low risk health concern and you can follow up with chest x ray

Detailed Answer:
Hi,
Thanks for writing in.

Fumes from a battery can be considered a low exposure to industrial chemicals. This is a single exposure and therefore unlikely to have a long term effect on your brain and other organs. However, since you have symptoms including shortness of breath, it will help to do a chest x ray or CT scan to look for any changes to your lungs, though any significant changes are less likely because the incident happened two years back.

You can request your company for health care facilities for at least 5 years and follow up on your symptoms. As mentioned earlier a single exposure to battery fumes is a low risk incident and there is no need to worry about your future health. It has not compromised your health in any significant manner that your life is under threat of disease or disability

Hope your query is answered.
Please do write back if you have any doubts.

Regards,
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Priyanka G Raj
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Vivek Chail 21 minutes later
Dear Doc.

I am experiencing symptoms ongoing - I looked at the reference on MedLine as well as Material Data Sheet ( based on ingestion of battery or fumes) info which states that I should be concerned. There were 16-20 batteries and the steam sterilizer exhaust opened directly to me in a 7x10 foot opening on a large cart. I experienced a great amount of distress for several days before seeing physician as well we visit for lungs was three weeks later.
I appreciate the info regarding lung following and comparison - but could you review the sites above let me know your continued thoughts. Annmarie
doctor
Answered by Dr. Vivek Chail 7 hours later
Brief Answer:
Please get your lungs checked in detail

Detailed Answer:
Hi,
Thanks for writing back with an update.

Your exposure to battery fumes can be considered as an acute exposure to significant amount of fumes. In this situation there is a risk of acute airway and lung injury. For this reason I recommend you to get a CT scan chest which can help to know if the air passages were damaged in this incident and if that is the reason you are having any occasional shortness of breath.

I earlier thought it was a small exposure but having read through your update, there can be some amount of damage to your airway which requires to be confirmed. I have read through medline as suggested by you and feel that your lungs require to be checked in detail.

The effects on brain and other organs from this incident are less likely.

Hope your query is answered.
Please do write back if you have any doubts.

Regards,
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Vivek Chail 10 days later
Dear Doc,
I appreciate that you reviewed the professional resources that I had reviewed.

The main reasons for the ongoing conceren is that I do not have heatlh insurance and have not had since the incident and now am requesting that the hospital or workmans compensation accept the responsibility and assit with the the exams and the possibility of future damage to my health.

Here are my current concerns that I have had for about 1.5 years:

I have ocassional (once a month for a week or so ) Very sore throat, headache and seeminily tinged bloody muscus. I resolve this with youguart or ice crème and cold compresses to forhead.

I have a consistant cough and have never smoked - sometimes this is better than other days.

My breathing is more difficult to take a breath - I have been using the Chi machine to assit with high respirations and to asssit with relaxation. My daughter bought this for me last year to asssit with breathing..its FDA approved to help with compromised conditions. I use it a few times a week when I feel especially exhausted or congested and it seems to assit. I do not have a gym membership and the heat makes it difficult to exercise otherwise.

I am not on any medications. MY blood pressure at the start of this was 110/70 and is now 140/90. My daughter is getting me the Resperate machine to assist with this for my birthday in November. It is a natual bio feed back machine to assit with lowering blood pressure.

In summary, I am hoping to establish a statement that litham battery exposure is dangerous and the chemicals emited into the air than into my lungs have casused a compromising consequesnce which may lead to further ongoing concernes of which could limit my life as well as change the quality of my life. I say this because - my symptoms are getting worse and I am gravely concerned as well as upset that the company refused to acknowledge my digitity when reporting the issue espically when the person whom did it acknowledged the act of placing the litham batteries into the sterilizer of which I opened.

I would appreciate your opinion about the incident and health consequesces. I will than review with social services to see if they can than request for continued health benefits to follow through with exisiting concerens and potential longterm assitence. Thank you for your asssitence. Annmarie

doctor
Answered by Dr. Vivek Chail 13 hours later
Brief Answer:
Please request a chest CT scan and lung function tests

Detailed Answer:
Hi,
Thanks for writing back with an update.

You surely require your lungs and air passages to be evaluated in detail for the sign of any condition which might have appeared after the lithium exposure.

Please suggest your health care giver for a chest CT scan including HRCT which will help to look for the signs of disease in your lungs even if such an involvement is in the earliest stages.

The above needs to be followed up by lung function tests which will then give an estimate of your breathing problems.

Both the tests require to be matched and then a final discuss can be had with any company approved pulmonologist who can set up a request raining your health problem arising from exposure to battery fumes after analysing the tests.

It is really difficult to get tests done when you dont have insurance but if the CT chest is not done and if you are indeed having any lung changes then we are missing out on the vital information.

Hope your query is answered.
Please do write back if you have any doubts.

Regards,
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Vivek Chail 12 hours later
Dear. Doc:

Thank you once again for your detailed follow though and research as well as professional advise.

Since we spoke , I contacted the workmanship comp as I originally filed when it happened. I am thinking that they may see that the symptoms of Litham exposure have followed me. Because the conditions still exist and reopen the case to Assit with the medical requests. I believe that you are saying that the cause of the symptoms relate to the exposure - correct. If so than I believe that I would be entitled to have the tests and begin a plan to reverse the symptoms. Because at this point - I am getting worse and very frightened about my health. I don't feel like I did before. Please advise. Annmarie
doctor
Answered by Dr. Vivek Chail 2 hours later
Brief Answer:
You can get lithium levels in blood checked and then get other tests done

Detailed Answer:
Hi,
Thanks for writing back with an update.

You need not get frightened because the acute phase of any possible illness is over and is is unlikely that you will fall seriously ill now after two year.

However, you have said right that further worsening is to be controlled and you are to be provided health care by the company. Chronic complications of fume inhalation will take place over years. For the lithium toxicity you can urgently get a blood lithium level done and it will likely be a normal report for you. Rest of the investigations can be done slowly and after taking further consultations.

Hope your query is answered.
Please do write back if you have any doubts.

Regards,
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Vivek Chail 17 hours later
Thank you Doc.
I appreciate your professional review and research.
My concern is the clinic complications due to exposure.
If you could elaborate - as the sore throat, difficulty swallowing , congestion and belated breathing seem to be increasing.

All info would be helpful as I would like to submit to work and compensation to reopen initial claim so theater could obtain tests and ongoing concerns.

Annmarie
doctor
Answered by Dr. Vivek Chail 16 hours later
Brief Answer:
You might require endoscopy and detailed testing

Detailed Answer:
Hi,
Thanks for writingback with an update.

You require to be clinically examined for any throat and lower respiratory airway problems.

In this regard, you might require either endoscopy or imaging studies and probably both.

This will be decided after your clinical evaluation.

Hope your query is answered.
Please do write back if you have any doubts.

Regards,
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Vivek Chail 7 minutes later
Thank you Doc.
I will submit your notes to my clinical dr inaddtion to her recommendations. My big concern is the chronic sore throat breathing headache and difficulty smollowing and over all exhaustion - any thoughts about them in the future. I appreciate your advise and will follow though with you once I learn more from the tests. Annmarie
doctor
Answered by Dr. Vivek Chail 12 hours later
Brief Answer:
Please avoid dust and pollution

Detailed Answer:
Hi,
Thanks for writing back with an update.

You should avoid exposure to dust and pollution. Any hypersensitivity to your surroundings is to be addressed. These steps will control any allergy associated problems.

Please have a healthy 1800 kcal nutritious food every day including daily recommended vitamins.

Your swallowing requires detailed testing and till then you can include soft foods in your diet which are less problematic to swallow for you.

Drink adequate amounts of water and juices to avoid dryness of throat.

Once you are investgated then treatment can be more specific and targeted.

Hope your query is answered.
Please do write back if you have any doubts.

Regards,

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Prasad
doctor
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