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Saturday, December 7, 2013
Working with Sarcoidosis
My question is this: My husband was diagnosed about 5 yrs. ago. It began with his lungs. He has been able to continue to work. Recently he was forced to "go underground". This is a Coal Mine. Prior, he held the position of Warehouse Tech (which was in a building at a desk. Since going underground he has started to have symptoms again and has already required antibiotics. With him having Sarcoidosis should he be working underground?
The cause of sarcoidosis is currently unknown. Most experts agree that an environmental exposure (something we inhale) sets the disease in motion. In your husband's case, it is unclear if exposure to dusts or fumes released from the mine is contributing to his sarcoidosis disease activity. However, working in a mine can cause lung diseases, such as silicosis, which could worsen your husband's sarcoidosis. Thus, I would recommend against your husband working in the mine, especially if he will be involved in drilling or other jobs that would produce dust or fumes.
If your husband decides to work in the mine, at the very least he should be fitted with a mask that effectively filters fine dust particles, and he should avoid poorly ventilated areas where the dust and fumes would become more concentrated.
Elliott D Crouser, MD
Associate Professor of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care & Sleep Medicine
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University