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Environmental dust (concrete, sawdust)
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Environmental dust (concrete, sawdust)

My question is: can concrete dust cause a cough after short exposure, and if so, how serious is it? Information I've gathered indicates problems usually develop only after years of exposure.

I've developed a rather deep, dry, irritating and lightly productive cough with some wheezing and small 'popping' that I notice when I'm quiet...much like the bronchitis that comes with colds but there are no other symptoms and what mucous there is is clear.

This started after two 8-hour days in my new  work studio where there is a woodshop downstairs and a new Safeway coming up across the street. I've been there now about a week.

There is a good barrier from the dust in the woodshop, but my 2nd-story window has been open to the street where, directly below, concrete trucks have been mixing concrete all week for the foundation of this huge building.

I've considered taking a swipe of dust from the exposed windowsill to see if it's mostly sawdust or if there is more dangerous stuff in the dust. Who would be able to test that if necessary?  

The studio is a great work space I don't want to give up so I hope this is something else and just coincidental with the concrete work.  

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Yes, a relatively short exposure to concrete dust could cause your cough.  This cough could be from the dust causing lung inflammation.  After months or years this can become permanent.  Despite what seems to be a good barrier, the wood dust could also cause the same problem.  If possible stay away from your studio for 4 to 7 days.  If your cough either lessens or completely goes away this is a clue that the dust is causing your cough.

In most cases, testing the dust would not be helpful.  What you will need is an air conditioner that will filter out the dust.
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I was recently exposed to concrete dust from our neighbor new inground pool.  Was taken to the emergency room 4 times in 1 week. Symptoms:  After lying down to go to sleep at night I would wake up already coughing and then my windpipe would close to a pinhole, I would gag and then be taken to ER.  The first three times they could not find anyting on the xrays, so they treated as a virus.  Didn't work.  Couple days later, I had same episode, went to different hospital, diagnosed with Acute Tracheaitis, treated with prednisone and hydrocodone....worked!  I decided to do my own internet research on the mucous build up on my vocal cords and why I couldn't expel it.  Found something called Vocal Cord Dysfunction....do not know if that is what it is, but I am pursuing all I can to nail this thing.   I ran out of the hydrocodone, which not only is a pain killer, which I had none, but it also helps in breathing tremendously.  My throat feels as if there is a knife pricking at it when I try to clear it, I have learned to relax my breathing when I start to cough, although sometimes it still gets the best of me and I start to gag again.  From the MSDS's I've read on concrete dust, it doesn't look very good, but new technology is always coming out, let's keep our hopes up.
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