I inhaled fiberglass dust and fibers while cutting up a fiberglass tub. Afterwards, I began to have chest pains and shortness of breath. An X-ray was taken, which was normal. I also visited a pulmonary physician who explained that the fibers should not cause permanent damage. However, it has been 2 months and my symptoms remain. I continue to cough up discolored phlegm, especially in the morning. I am taking mucinex every day. Can you give me any advice. Thank you.
The pulmonary physician is right, for the most part, in saying that the fibers should not cause permanent damage. However, fiberglass dust and fibers can be lung irritants. The extent to which this occurs depends in part on intensity and duration of the exposure. Transient, low level inhalation usually does not cause much lung damage but there is variability to the individual’s responsiveness and the specific type of fiber.
Your description suggests that your development of symptoms was closely related to the fiberglass exposure and caused by it. It would be wise for you to have your lungs reevaluated by the pulmonary specialist at this time in case some other (possibly infection) is superimposed on the inhaled fiberglass or your lungs remain inflamed. If that proves to be the case, treatment with an anti-inflammatory medication might be appropriate.
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