A mushroom is a type of fungus that produces thousands of spores, or tiny reproductive structures. Spores are typically lightweight and travel through the air to relocate and reproduce, making it easy for people to breathe them in. People working with large quantities of unidentified mushrooms should take care by wearing a surgical mask to avoid inhaling the spores, which can be dangerous.
Farmer's Lung Symptoms
Spores of the edible oyster mushroom, known as Pleutrotus Florida, have been known to cause illness in individuals who were in close contact with the fungus for extended periods of time. The affected individuals exhibited symptoms consistent with Farmer's Lung, including exhaustion, headache, chills, cough and fever.
Exposure to mushroom spores, whether inhaled or ingested, can cause severe respiratory issues. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report found that several people who ate puffball mushrooms developed a cough and shortness of breath within a week.
An individual who is exposed to large quantities of mushroom spores -- whether while at work, during a meal or through folk remedies of a medical treatment -- can experience a variety of symptoms, such as fever, fatigue and myalgia, a type of muscle pain. Pre-existing allergies can exacerbate any existing symptoms.
In extreme cases, people exposed to large quantities of dangerous mushroom spores may require hospitalization. A lung biopsy may be required for doctors to determine the severity of the problem. The administration of corticosteroids and antifungal therapy are also options.