Prevent Your Lungs From Being Damaged Through Grooming
Did you know that flying fur can negatively affect your health? This blog is all about how your lungs are affected by hair and other airborne particles and what you can do right now to help protect yourself.
According to Groomers 2018 Blaster Safety Survey of 112 groomers, 83% of you spent over 2 hours blasting or drying per working day, with 37% spending 4 hours or more. All of that time, fine cut hair, dandruff, nail grindings, and microbes can become airborne and be circulated around the room to be inhaled by you, so it’s important that you are protecting yourself.
In the same survey, 78% of groomers occasionally or never wore a safety mask while blasting or drying, and only 8% wore them every time they dried or blasted. It might not be pretty, but the absolute best way to protect yourself from respiratory damage is by wearing a mask that covers both your nose and mouth while you are grooming, and wearing one every time you blast and dry dogs.
We recommend choosing a close-fitting mask that really hugs around your face, with a very fine gauze that will filter tiny hairs, dander, dust and parasites. A great example of this is the 3M Respirator or the Breathe Healthy Mask. Masks that don’t hug your face or don’t have a fine enough gauze can still let in those tiny particles, so that bee keeper’s hat is not going to cut it. Breathe Healthy Masks are made from moisture-wicking material and wrap well around your face, making them really comfortable to wear, and are priced around £14.00. You can even get respirators with a valve so it doesn’t get too hot!
You can also help reduce the amount of dog hair around your salon by vacuuming regularly, ensuring you have excellent ventilation, using industrial air scrubbers or by using a clipper vac. We know it’s extremely satisfying to see all the hair that comes out while you’re blasting, but making sure a dog is well brushed out with as much hair as possible removed before drying can make all the difference towards keeping flying fur to a minimum. This also has the benefit of reducing the amount of hair splinters you find in unusual places!
So what actually happens when you inhale hairs and other particles? When pet hair and dander is inhaled, the tiny hairs and other harmful particles can travel down into the lung and stay there. In time this can inflame the lung lining and scar the airways, which can then progress into a chronic lung condition. We sometimes call this ‘Groomers Lung’. This damage takes place over a long period of time and many groomers do not notice the gradual change. This doesn’t always happen and some people don’t develop these issues at all, however there is a risk, and it is certainly better to be safe than sorry! If you experience constant coughing, wheezing, pain while breathing or shortness of breath, especially during or after grooming, it’s time to get yourself checked out.
Please make sure that you and your groomer friends are staying safe in your workplace by sharing this blog to others!
In order to best protect your lungs we recommend these products:
- Lynn Professional. The Importance of Groomer Health and Safety [online]. Available at: https://www.lynnprofessional.com/the-importance-of-groomer-health-safety/. Accessed April 2018.
- Arlene Muzquiz (2016). Groomer’s Lung [online]. Available at: http://store.purepaws.net/Groomers-Lung_b_24.html. Accessed April 2018.
- NHS Choices (2016). Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) [online]. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/chronic-obstructive-pulmonary-disease-copd/symptoms/. Accessed April 2018.
- British Lung Foundation. Pneumoconiosis and other lung diseases caused by external agents statistics [online] https://statistics.blf.org.uk/pneumoconioses. Accessed April 2018.
- Lung Institute. Warning Signs of Lung Disease [online]. https://lunginstitute.com/blog/warning-signs-of-lung-disease/. Accessed April 2018.
- Groomers Limited. Groomers Blaster Safety Survey, 06/04/2018.
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