Some people got into the pet grooming industry after following their passion for taking care of animals. Groomers can also extend sound pet care advice to customers to adequately care for their furry babies. However, the job of a pet groomer comes with a health risk known as Groomers Lung.
What is Groomers Lung Disease?
What is Groomers Lung? What are its signs and symptoms that we should watch out for? And, what are possible treatments that we can avail to get well from the disease?
Inconspicuous strands of hair of the groomed animal, fur, dead skin particles can fly and float in the air while a groomer snips, brushes, or shaves their client’s pet. Unlike other free radicals and particles, these residues from pets may accumulate and cause long-term damage to the lungs, such as inflammation and scar tissue.
These are the conditions that may prompt the formation of the groomers’ lung disease. When it worsens, this disease may impede a person’s normal breathing.
Scary Statistics on Groomers and Groomers Lung Disease
Groomers Lung is an occupational hazard that groomers and the general public may not often talk about. Unfortunately, some dog groomers are doing the same toxic routine in a salon exposing themselves to pet dander and flying fur.
They may have been pet grooming without protecting themselves with the suitable grooming mask, dog hair nets, among other protective equipment until they felt the first symptoms of this pulmonary lung disease.
In the 2018 Blaster Safety Survey, researchers found out that 83% of the groomers in the study have spent over two hours exposed to allergens and flying fur. Thirty-seven percent of the participants work longer than two hours per day at work, thus increasing their exposure to microbes, hair from dogs, cats, and other pets.
The same survey further revealed that 78% of the participating groomers worked without wearing a grooming mask while doing tasks such as blasting or drying. These tasks can cause many health risks that may expose them to many microbes and dog hair splinters.
Surprisingly, only 8% of those interviewed exercised a level of safety to protect themselves from lung disease by wearing masks while drying or blasting.
How is Groomers Lung Treated?
Groomers Lung Disease has symptoms that are way more serious and painful than the usual pet allergies. Some of these symptoms may even stay longer and may provide discomfort to the affected dog groomer. The best way to confirm whether one has a groomers lung is to undergo a thorough consultation with a doctor and discuss possible treatments and therapies.
To date, there are no exact medicines and treatments that experts have formulated to address groomer’s lungs. With potent medications and changes in your lifestyle, symptoms may subside, allowing the patient to recover.
Immunotherapy is a much more natural option in which involves a series of injections until the patient is strong enough to develop natural antibodies and protection against inflammation. The injections will teach the body to fight against dog hair splinter, hair in the lungs, and other particles that will get stored and become debris in the lungs.
In more severe cases, the doctor may prescribe medications to alleviate the symptoms and irritation of the lung disease. This series of medicines may also help the lungs to get stronger and keep the airways open.
Signs and Symptoms Associated With Groomers Lung
The symptoms of Groomers Lung are not easily noticeable. This ailment may take a long time to develop with the pet groomer accumulating dog hair in the lungs while in the same toxic environment regularly.
While trimming, blasting, or drying, pet hair and other free radicals may find their way into the lungs. Through time, these tiny hairs in the lungs will inflame the organ lining and scar its airways. Without interventions, this condition may progress and become chronic and severe.
Of course, there are symptoms that one should pay attention to. Constant coughing and wheezing are usual indications of Groomer’s lung. Some may also experience pain or difficulty in breathing and shortness of breath during grooming. When this happens, the groomer should seek medical advice and help immediately.
Our Top Tips To Prevent Groomers Lung
Groomers lung is a health hazard that may become long-lasting and life-threatening. It’s not yet too late. You can still change your ways and protect yourself more. In this way, you can avoid the negative consequences of this lung disease later on and continue doing your job.
The most immediate way is to wear a mask during dog grooming or cat hair grooming. Make it a habit to wear a close-fitting mask that securely covers your nose and mouth while cutting, combing, or blow-drying the pet’s hair. A unique grooming mask consists of a fine gauze material that perfectly blocks dog hair, parasites, dust, and pet dander.
Face shields are not a good option as they do not fully protect your face. Use masks instead. In buying masks, look for those that consist of a soft cloth, lightweight, moisture-wicking material. This type of mask will keep you cool and comfortable the whole day.
Keeping your workspace hygienic and tidy is also a great preventive measure to protect yourself from groomers lungs. Make sure that the work area is well-ventilated and well-lit. You may want to install an industrial air scrubber, apply a potent air purifier or use a clipper vac that sucks in pet dander while you are busy grooming.
Experts advise that pet groomers should work in a bright room or use a light-colored table while grooming dogs. You may also have to change cool colors such as blue and gray floor tiles and grooming tables to detect all the pet dander and flying fur in your work area.
Vacuuming the place every time you finish pet grooming is also a good practice. Dog fur may fly everywhere, and thus, you also need to wipe your walls, desk, and other areas to remove any excess skin, hair, or dander.
Taking care of ourselves is a life-long mission that we must religiously, especially at work. If you are a pet groomer, consider yourself susceptible to occupational health hazards. One of these is the possibility of getting groomers lungs.
Ensure to protect yourself from pet dander, flying fur, dog hair splinter, among other particles. Stay safe! Always wear a grooming mask, dog hair nets, and other dog grooming wear to protect your lungs. Ensure that your workplace is safe, clean, and tidy all the time. Remember, you can enjoy your job, earn well, and protect yourself at the same time!