Medical Specialty >> Pulmonology

Doctors Lounge - Pulmonology Answers

Back to Pulmonology Answers List

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately. Doctors Lounge ( does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, physicians, products, procedures, opinions, or other information that may be mentioned on the Site.

DISCLAIMER: The information provided on is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her physician. Please read our 'Terms and Conditions of Use' carefully before using this site.

Date of last update: 10/19/2017.

Forum Name: Chest symptoms

Question: sanded boat without mask for a few hours, am i ok?

 jets10 - Mon May 04, 2009 9:15 am

Hi all, a few weeks ago i sanded a fiberglass boat for a few hours without a mask on (stupid). I'm a 40 yr old male. I didn't realize the degree of the dust until i was done. I had dust in my ears and some in my nose, so i know i inhaled it. In the 1st week i was having wierd sensations in around my chest, also a constant clear your throat cough. Also a little pain to the left center of my chest, and under the bottom ribs. Seem to be getting better each day, but should i be concerned? Is there anything i can do at this point? I'm just paraniod its going to catch up with me in a few years. Thanks so much!
 John Kenyon, CNA - Wed May 13, 2009 11:33 pm

User avatar Hi Kevin --

While you're right to take note of the mistake and hopefully not do this in the future, we all make mistakes like this from time to time, usually with no lasting effects, at least if we don't do it over and over again. Much of the air we breathe is already full of noxious stuff, some of it totally natural (there are tree pollens I sometimes wonder about, they are so thick and plentiful, if they aren't as bad or worse than fiberglass particles). There is a remote possibility you could develop a mild pneumonitis later, but not a huge likelihood. If you do develop symptoms (productive cough, bloody sputum, etc.), you'll need to see a doctor, who may treat it with steroids and/or nebulizer treatments.

Hopefully this will just resolve over time. If not, by all means bring it to the attention of your doctor. Good luck to you.
 jets10 - Fri Jul 10, 2009 10:40 am

Hi, i'm back now a few months later. Unfortunately i still have a throat clearing cough, still getting sensations around my chest area, and now the glands in my throat seem to be swollen alot. I'm just not right, can still mow the lawn, walk etc, but not like i used to. Also notice my voice gets a little cracky once in a while. Went to my Doc a month ago, normal EKG, Xray of lungs were normal, bloodwork was normal. I'm 40 yrs old, otherwise healthy. What should i do?
 John Kenyon, CNA - Mon Jul 13, 2009 11:02 am

User avatar Hello again! I'm sorry to hear you're still having symptoms and frankly they are somewhat odd considering the way this presumably started. What I'm thinking now, given the time that's passed, is you may have managed to trigger some sort of allergic/autoimmune response (which might not even be related to the original insult) because your upper airway seems to be involved most of all. This could mean a chronic irritation of a deep sinus (a place where material could lodge and have a very difficult time getting back out). First thing to do would be to try a few days' worth of guaifenesin (brand name Mucinex) to see if it helps loosen anything up. Failing at that, you may want to seek consult with an ENT doctor, who might decide you need additional consult with a pulmonolgist. My gut feeling, though, is this is coming from above, not below, your throat, quite possibly the sinuses, which is something often overlooked in exposures to this sort of noxious material. Since your chest x ray turned out negative you're probably clean and clear there, although a pulmonary function test (PFT -- even a very simple one with an Asthma Check device) could help determine if you've got any problems in the lower respiratory area. I am inclined to doubt it now, but it should be ruled out. An ENT consult is probably is your best next order of business. Most doctors have at least a drawer full of Asthma Check devices or a small PFT machine, so your vital capacity could be tested. Sometimes asthma is triggered by exposure to an irritant and is often not recognized for what it is because of lack of wheezing, but will cause coughing, throat clearing and chest discomfort which is muscular in nature. It also can be set off by sinus irritation, which I keep coming back to because it is such a great place for irritants to hide and cause trouble.

First, though, try (if you haven't already) a few days of Mucinex or its generic.

I hope this is helpful. Please do stay in touch and let us know how things go.

| Check a doctor's response to similar questions

Are you a Doctor, Pharmacist, PA or a Nurse?

Join the Doctors Lounge online medical community

  • Editorial activities: Publish, peer review, edit online articles.

  • Ask a Doctor Teams: Respond to patient questions and discuss challenging presentations with other members.

Doctors Lounge Membership Application

Tools & Services: Follow DoctorsLounge on Twitter Follow us on Twitter | RSS News | Newsletter | Contact us