“Groomers Lung” Are You At risk?

In 2016 Pet Groomers Lung was recognized by the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine as A New Addition to the List of Occupation Related Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis Spectrum of Disorders

GROOMERS LUNG is a chronic condition caused over time from the repeated breathing of dog hair, dander and other airborne contaminants including pyrethrin based chemicals. Outcomes can be minor to very severe, permanent lung damage. There are currently no regulations passed to address this hazard.  It is a real industry problem that is just beginning to come to light.  Naturally groomers with preexisting lung problems are more vulnerable and may become symptomatic early in their career. Others may be affected over time, and experience problems after years of exposure. With  preventative steps, to lessen exposure, you can lower the risk of developing a chronic problem.

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  1. Is your work space well ventilated?  Consider an air exchange system. These range in size and cost. An air exchange system filters dander and odors. They are most efficiently installed in new build outs.   If you are grooming in an unventilated space, a portable air cleaning system is an option that is effective if your system is adequate to cover your square footage. Bathing, drying and finishing space should all be considered, with separate (size appropriate) units for separate rooms.
  2. Wear an air filtering mask. These come in cloth or paper. The cloth masks are stylish, and can be washed and reused. The paper masks are very inexpensive and are disposable. Maximum prevention requires using a mask always, not just during the obvious times of exposure which are the bathing and drying process. We also like these 3M Half Facepiece Reusable Respirators.
  3. Vacuum to remove hair and dander as you groom. Hair on the floor means more hair in the air. Minimally vacuum hair from the floor at regular intervals. For maximum protection, Clipper Vic Systems will vacuum the hair and dander as you clip and keep hair in the air at a minimum.
  4. Use natural and nontoxic products. Dips and pesticides are toxic to fleas, ticks, and groomers. Groomers who use chemical dips regularly are high risk to future lung problems. There is no need to dip, there are many safer, more effective options.   Customers have many choices when it comes to pest prevention, that are safer for them, less toxic to their pet, and preventative to you, Encourage prevention, not dipping, with your customers. Examine the ingredients in the products you use, and choose the safest approach. Long term this can have a profound effect in your own health.  

If you are a groomer experiencing chronic coughing, wheezing and/or fatigue, take time to get checked out medically. Pet Groomers Lung is a real and recognized hazard in the industry. One that may be preventable in many cases.

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