Author Topic: Diatomaceous Earth  (Read 3321 times)

Sarah Meaders

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Diatomaceous Earth
« on: October 11, 2017, 07:38:32 AM »
This post is about Diatomaceous Earth. Full disclosure, I am NOT an expert with this stuff at all, nor am I experienced enough to be considered "wise counsel" with pest/parasite control in animals. This is my experience.

For anyone who uses DE in any aspect, PLEASE DO NOT ignore the recommendation to WEAR A MASK. No matter how many times you have used it with no issues, WEAR A DANG MASK. And NEVER dust ANYTHING in an enclosed space. I don't care how windy it is, wait until the wind stops if you must, but do NOT dust your birds inside an enclosed area. Here's why...please read every word.

Almost two years ago, I dusted my Australorps inside their pen, which was enclosed on three sides for the winter. Since it was very nice outside, I didn't wear my normal face mask. One hen got irritated at me and began flapping like crazy after I dusted her, sending DE dust in the air all around me. I thought nothing of it and kept on. I did, however, send my son away to avoid the dust. The next day, her eye was very swollen, but she acted fine. She never did show any other symptoms of distress or illness.

Now, me, on the other hand, whole different story. Two days after I dusted her, I felt myself getting sick, as if I had caught the flu. I fought it with my regular go to remedies, but by the second day, which was three days after dusting them, I was on the couch with not even enough energy to get up and get myself a drink. I was running 102+, was obviously very dehydrated, and having a hard time breathing. Went to ER, tested negative for the flu, Chest XRay was not very impressive, but my doctor's gut told him I had to have had pneumonia, even though all diagnostics said I didn't. My breath sounds were not junky, just very diminished. It was obvious to him I was not moving air as an otherwise very healthy 40 year old should be.

My second night in the hospital, my heart started bottoming out; as in going down into the high 20's and low 30's, it started having 2nd degree type 2 blocks, and my blood pressure was bottoming out. I could not be supine without having crushing chest pain, and I was not responding to antibiotics. They did a CT on my chest, and they finally saw severe abnormalities in my lungs right over my heart. This was a very odd form of pneumonia. Even my cardiologist was scratching his head after he did an echo and a few other basic heart tests.

I was finally discharged from the hospital after a WEEK. I had to take breathing treatments at LEAST twice a day to even be able to breath enough to walk across my house. My heart continued slowing down, and I couldn't sleep in my bed for weeks from the crushing chest pain when I lied down flat. Several months later, I saw a pulmonologist and we walked through the entire ordeal. She noted that it took nearly six months for my lungs to clear out based on the many CT Scans I had. Even with a clear CT, I was still on daily asthma medication and needed my inhaler daily. I could not handle even the slightest smell without having an asthma attack. I had to change deodorants, my daughters couldn't spray their hair, I could no longer burn candles; it was bad.

While talking to my pulmonologist, she asked me about the days leading up to me falling ill. It was then that I remembered dusting my Australorps. She concluded without a doubt that I had breathed in the DE like my hen did, and the result was "Chemically Induced Pneumonia" caused by the DE. The damage was severe enough that my heart responded by decreasing the work load on my lungs until they healed. If I hadn't went to the hospital, and if my doctor hadn't have trusted his gut against all diagnostics, I would've died there on my couch.

Today, nearly two years later, I am FINALLY off of daily asthma meds, but I still use my inhaler a couple times a month. I can handle most smells better, but only in small quantities. My heart still slows down and goes into arrythmias occasionally, but not near as often. I cannot walk or work near as long as I once could without gasping for air and my heart protesting. I will have to be seen by my pulmonologist regularly to monitor for long term damage. DE has been known to cause cancer later, so we will be watching my lungs closely for the rest of my life.

All of this because I didn't wear a mask. I will continue to use DE, but I will NEVER dust in an enclosed space like that, whether I have a mask or not. I am lucky my hen didn't get sick.

Please PLEASE don't mess around with dusts of any kind, be it DE or any other. Even if I use ash, I will wear a mask. Foreign substances have no business being in the lungs of anyone, and the cilia of the nose and the defense mechanisms of the lungs can only filter out so much. Please wear masks when working with things that can get airborne. Your life could very well depend on it.
Proclaim Yahweh's greatness with me! Let us exhale His name together! Psalm 34:3

Kelly Gore

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Re: Diatomaceous Earth
« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2017, 09:28:53 AM »
Sarah- I am sorry this happened to you. I hope others can learn from your experience. I have been kicking around the idea of using DE in my coops and on my birds. My Brother in Law works at a DE mine in Lompoc, CA. Has for the last 25 years. He explained to me exactly what you are saying happened to you. My thought was, if this could happen to me coming in contact every now and then, what is happening to my birds that live with this on their bodies and breathe it day after day. I decided it wasn't worth it to me. I hope you continue to improve each day! -Kelly