I have dry and itchy cough. Can this be due to silicosis?

Q. I have dry and itchy cough. Can this be due to silicosis?

Answered by
Dr. Chandra Shekhar
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Aug 14, 2018 and last reviewed on: Jul 05, 2023

Hello doctor,

I have no familial history of asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). I am a 38-year-old male, 30 BMI with prehypertension which I am trying to manage first with diet and exercise. Parents both have hypertension. Two years ago, I became a new home-owner and decided to do some home repairs on my own. I was sanding drywall most times without a mask, and had put some floor patch and leveler and had hammered certain spots and smoothed it out with a sander, most times without a mask. A month ago, I developed a cough and my fiancé caught it from me as well, but she is fine now. It had some mucous, no fever, I was still able to attend school without difficulty. However, now I have a dry cough, intermittent. Where at times I feel itchy and cough. No sputum, and now my airway feels a bit dry especially my oropharynx and it has been over a month and I still have an intermittent cough that is not going away. No bloody sputum or anything. And when I am sleeping at night, I do not really have coughs especially since I can sleep throughout the night without waking up from coughs.I feel it more when I drive in a car and have air conditioner towards my face and cold air. I went to the urgent care center yesterday and they prescribed antibiotics Clarithromycin, and Methylprednisone 4 mg week-long schedule and one place did a chest X-ray. He said the lower bases showed some congestion, maybe mucous plug.I am worried about silicosis. How do I rule this out? Today I feel like I am in a swimming pool a bit. Yesterday, other then the intermittent cough I had no issue with breathing. I smoke marijuana occasionally and have stopped since I realized it was really irritating my throat. Please help me.



Welcome to icliniq.com. Two or three things are there in your diagnosis. 1. Silicosis. 2. Upper airways cough syndrome. 3. Asthma with ABPA (allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis). You should go for some investigation like HRCT(high-resolution computed tomography) thorax, X-ray chest PA (posteroanterior), polysomnography. Till then, you take tablet Azee (Azithromycin) 500 once, tablet Zerodol SP (Aceclofenac- Serratiopeptidase) thrice, tablet Aciloc (Ranitidine) twice along with the above medicine. Kindly send me all the film and reports. For silicosis, you need to have exposure of at least 10 years. So, do not worry, it has fewer chances.

Thank you doctor,

I will go today to get the chest X-ray and take Azithromycin 500 mg tablet just once. That is it? If I was exposed to a large dose of silica from the two days of working and grinding at home. How soon would it develop symptoms? Because I never developed fevers or difficult after that two years ago. It was a month ago from a cough that had sputum and my fiancé got it as well but now it is still here, that got me worried. If it was acute, would I have suffered from a cough from the initial contact or sooner?



Welcome back to icliniq.com. All the medications are for seven days. Take urine antigen test for Legionella, if possible. Send me X-ray film and computed tomography (CT) film, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg), HCV (hepatitis C virus) serology. Maybe you have silica dust related pneumonitis, then in this, fever is present.

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