Metal Fume Fever: Every Industrial Worker’s Enemy

Industrial manufacturing processes often produce fumes that can easily harm the health of the workers if not controlled. A common condition experienced in a manufacturing setting by operators is metal fume fever. This illness presents influenza-type symptoms. There are no specific signs of metal fume poisoning, but are mostly flu-like.

Signs and Causes of Infection

People who are frequently exposed to excessive amounts of metal fume may experience fever, chills, nausea, headache, fatigue, muscle aches and joint pains among others. There are also cases of metal fume poisoning wherein patients get a metallic taste in the mouth that distorts their taste of food, along with dry and irritated throat, which often leads to hoarseness.

As there are no serious symptoms of metal fume fever, workers usually dismiss the idea of visiting the doctor for a check-up. Metal fume fever symptoms often last for only a day or two, but it can take four days or more to fully recover from the illness. The condition, however, can easily return when the person is re-exposed.

There is no exact cause of metal fume fever. The closest explanation that scientists can provide involves the immune reaction. This response triggers when the metal oxide fumes inhaled damages the cell lining in the airways. It creates modified proteins that act as allergens upon reaching the bloodstream.

Not that Serious of a Threat…But Don’t Be Fooled

As common as metal fume fever takes place, it is considered not as severe compared to other workplace hazards. But, continued exposure to the fumes and minimal prevention can seriously harm the lungs over time. Doctors find it difficult to diagnose metal fume poisoning specifically, as it resembles numerous common illnesses. If your work exposes you to metal fumes, do not hesitate visiting a doctor.

Is there a treatment for metal fume fever? Like any other illness, one of the most effective ways of treating metal fume fever is addressing it early. Simple bed rest and symptomatic therapy is an easy way to treat, or as otherwise directed by doctors.

Of course, the best way to address metal fume fever is to avoid it altogether.  This may seem impossible for an operator in a manufacturing environment however this is where air filtration equipment is best put to use.  To reduce the number of metal fume fever cases, workplaces need to have effective air filtration systems to protect their operators from hazardous fumes.

Here at Dual Draw, we present a wide range of air ventilation equipment and self-contained downdraft tables that can be used to protect operators against metal fume fever and other harmful airborne fumes and dust. These machines feature a unique airflow design, with a perforated work surface and vented back stop to capture fumes. When working with a downdraft paint booth, industrial workers are less prone to the harmful effects of metal fumes. Contact DualDraw now for more information on preventing metal fume poisoning.