What is Farmer’s Lung?

For individuals who are interested to know what is farmer’s lung? It is an allergic condition that is not communicable. Inhalation of mold spores that can be found in the dust of hay, grain, or straw with molds can result in farmer’s lung. This encumbering condition affects the daily performance of the lungs, particularly the exchange of gases. A lot of farmers were compelled to find other jobs because this disease can be debilitating.


More than thirty percent of adults who are disabled to work or do their activities of daily living due to the physiologic effects of respiratory illness are comprised of farmers. It should be noted that a huge number of these individuals do not smoke. Hence, their health problem is caused by other factors other than the toxic effects of tobacco or smoking. Farmer’s lung is among the more severe respiratory risks to which people working in the farm are exposed to. Of late, the number of people who contracted this disease has been growing in proportion. It is possible that this has been the outcome of rising health awareness of farmers and an ensuing increase in regularity of clinical consultations by farmers.

Mold spores

Molds are small organisms that produce minute spores of less than 4 microns. Molds cultivate in hay, silage, or grain that are kept in storage places in the farm. This occurs when there is significant increase in moisture levels and the areas for storing them are not well-ventilated. Spores of molds adhere to specks of dust while the farmers are working with grain, hay, or silage. Consequently, farmers get to breathe in the dust and mold spores. Studies indicate that a person in the farm will be able to inhale hundreds of thousands of these minute particles within a minute of exposure.

Body defenses against contaminants

The human body detects these foreign bodies and attempts to expel them by coughing or sneezing to impede them from going deeper into the respiratory system. Nevertheless, the spores usually find a way to pass through these body defenses because of their tiny size and tremendous numbers. The spores relocate into, gather, and remain in the lower portion of the lungs. Because majority of carbon dioxide and oxygen exchange occurs within the lower part of the lungs, contaminants from the spores go to the oxygenated bloodstream. The reaction of the body to the presence of contaminants brings about scars in the tissue of the lungs. This affects its capability to transport oxygen to the bloodstream. When exposed to mold spores, the damage to the tissues spreads. Allergic reaction is a defense generated by the body against the spores which causes symptoms such as colds and coughs.

Respiratory protection

Farmers should make sure to choose the proper apparatus for their respiratory protection. For instance, majority of those who work in the farm use face protectors to prevent dust from going into the lungs. But these things will not be effective when there are very high levels of mold spores or if a farmer has already acquired the respiratory disease. If someone has developed farmer’s lung, consult a physician with regard to the kind of device that will provide the best protection. Any time the person gets exposed, this heightens the likelihood of severe permanent lung tissue damage. Moreover, always use equipment that fits exactly and is well-maintained.