Tobacco Worker's Lung Follow-up
- Author: Roger B Olade, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Ryland P Byrd, Jr, MD more...
Further Outpatient Care
Tobacco worker's lung (TWL) patients should receive supportive follow-up care at a chest clinic.
Avoidance of exposure to tobacco leaves is the best prevention. Curwin et al report that washing hands in the field while harvesting significantly reduces the amount of nicotine absorbed through the skin.
Devices that limit inhalation of inciting antigens is recommended for those who must continue to work on tobacco farms. Installing controls that reduce moisture and humidity in occupied buildings will prevent excessively moldy tobacco leaves.
Some patients have irreversible lung damage progressing to pulmonary fibrosis with resultant cor pulmonale.
The prognosis is excellent if exposure to tobacco plants is curtailed before permanent damage occurs.
Inform tobacco workers about the possible risk of chronic lung damage from continuous exposure and that they should seek medical attention if certain symptoms are noted.
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