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What is the treatment for silicosis?

There is no specific treatment for silicosis. Removal of the source of silica exposure is important to prevent further worsening of the disease. Supportive treatment includes cough suppression medications, bronchodilators, and oxygen if

needed. Antibiotics are prescribed for respiratory infections as needed. A person who has difficulty breathing may benefit from the treatments used for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, such as drug therapy to keep the airways open and free of mucus. Respiratory symptoms may be treated with bronchodilators, increased fluid intake, steam inhalation, and physical therapy. Patients with severe breathing difficulties may be given oxygen therapy or placed on a mechanical ventilator. Acute silicosis may progress to complete respiratory failure. Heart-lung transplants are the only hope for some patients.

People with silicosis are at high risk for developing tuberculosis (TB). Because people with silicosis have a high risk of developing tuberculosis, they should have regular checkups that include a tuberculosis skin test. Silica is believed to interfere with the body's immune response to the bacteria that causes TB. Yearly skin testing to check for exposure to TB is recommended. Treatment with anti-TB drugs is recommended for people with a positive skin test. Any change in the appearance of the chest X-ray may indicate TB.

More information on silicosis

What is silicosis? - Silicosis is a disabling, nonreversible and sometimes fatal lung disease caused by overexposure to respirable crystalline silica.
What causes silicosis? - Silicosis is caused by overexposure to respirable crystalline silica. Particles of silica dust get trapped in the tiny sacs (alveoli) in the lungs.
What're the symptoms of silicosis? - Symptoms of silicosis include shortness of breath after exercising and a harsh, dry cough, chest pain, hoarseness, and loss of appetite.
How is silicosis diagnosed? - Silicosis is diagnosed when someone who has worked with silica has a chest x-ray that shows the distinctive patterns of scarring and nodules.
What is the treatment for silicosis? - There is no specific treatment for silicosis. Removal of the source of silica exposure is important to prevent further worsening of the disease.
How to prevent silicosis? - Silicosis is a preventable disease. The key to silicosis prevention is to prevent dust from being in the air.
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