Yesterday I was working on a small, enclosed exterior roof area on a building which had a very unpleasant odor, presumably because of the large amount of pigeon excrement that had been deposited there. Having been on the roof for about an hour and exposed to the awful smell, and having since read some things about diseases spread by pigeons and other birds, I am really concerned about my health, having not had any kind of protection, respiratory or otherwise.
Am I right to be concerned, or is it impossible for this kind of exposure to do me damage?
Your concern about ill effects from exposure to pigeon excrement is warranted. Two main categories of respiratory disease have been associated with pigeon droppings: infectious and allergic (usually referred to as Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis) . Should you develop any symptoms such as cough, chest tightness or other respiratory distress, sputum production or fever you should, without delay, arrange to be seen by your physician and have a chest X-ray. Your primary physician may then opt to refer you to either an Infectious Disease specialist or a lung specialist for definitive diagnosis and treatment.
Two things: First, if you experience any symptoms whatsoever, do not delay in seeking medical assistance and, Second – there might be a delay of several days to a week or more before symptoms begin.
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