Pneumonitis means inflammation of your lung tissue. Pneumonia is a type of pneumonitis. Yet, the term usually refers to other causes for inflamed lungs.
Pneumonitis is caused by irritation of your alveoli (air sacs) in your lungs. The resulting inflammation hampers a healthy oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange.
A variety of irritants can cause pneumonitis. However, the specific substance causing your inflammation may never determined.
Hypersensitivity or certain chemicals may be a cause for pneumonitis.
Hypersensitivity pneumonitis is lung inflammation due to drawing in organic dust, fungus, molds or bird droppings. Farmers lung is the most common form of hypersensitivity pneumonitis caused by repeated exposure to stuff like moldy hay, straw and grain.
Hypersensitivity pneumonitis may also be caused by fungus spewed out of humidifiers, heating systems and air conditioners.
Chemical pneumonitis is inflammation of your lungs caused by sucking in chemicals or their fumes. Some common inhaled substances known to inflame your lungs are:
- fertilizer dust
- smoke ~ house, wildfires
- chlorine gas ~ bleach, swimming pools
- noxious fumes ~ smelting, welding, solvent & pesticide production
Food and stomach acid aspiration can give your lungs a cause to flame.
Symptoms of pneumonitis depends on your cause and may involve:
- dry cough
- air hunger
- appetite loss
- burning chest pain
- breathing difficulty
- abnormal lung sounds
- unintentional weight loss
If pneumonitis is left untreated, it can evolve into chronic pneumonitis. Chronic air sac inflammation can lead to pulmonary fibrosis. This irreversible lung disease can bring about heart and respiratory failure, or even death.
The common sense treatment for hypersensitivity or chemical pneumonitis is eliminating exposure to the allergen or chemical irritating your lungs. Treatment for chronic pneumonitis may include:
- oxygen therapy
- antibiotics ~ if bacterial infection present
- corticosteroids (prednisone) ~ anti inflammatory via suppression of immune system, increases infection & osteoporosis risk
Preserve the health of you lungs by masking up while in thick air environments.