Caving Illnesses

DJFRASER

New member
If it's related to warming up your feet quite fast after them being cold and wet for some time, especially if your toes go red, it's probably just chilblains. They can be alarmingly painful. I occasionally get them after going for a cold / wet run on the fells in winter then jumping straight into a hot bath, or toasting my frozen feet in front of a revved up stove. It seems my grandma was right when she used to warn me about this (and I of course ignored it, LOL).
Yeah this pain is really sharp and stops me driving home sometimes untill it recedes.
 

Pitlamp

Well-known member
There's loads of advice online if you do a search on "chilblains" which can help you avoid the sort of circumstances that bring on the problem. It's mainly to do with the speed that the feet are warmed up after they get cold.

Good luck!
 

ChrisB

Active member
Remember: correlation does not imply causation
Quite so, particularly for a study like that, where the primary characteristic, radon dose, is inferred from geographical location, as there could be many other location based influences. I wouldn't consider the conclusion to be valid without some kind of control group.
 

mrodoc

Well-known member
As at least one contributor to ukCaving will tell you, Weil's disease can be hard hitting and kills a couple of people each year in the UK. Lyme's disease is also worth avoiding as it can linger for months.

If it is the same expedition to Mexico, then I think many of the team were hospitalised out there for a while but did recover.
Bob, it's Lyme disease not Lyme's disease. It is named after Lyme in Connecticut where children developed a form of arthritis with it. And interestingly Lyme in Connecticut is named after Lyme Regis just down the road from me and not far from where I saw my first cases 40 years ago.
 

mrodoc

Well-known member
Another one that hasn't been on the radar recently but can be acquired crossing open land occupied by sheep is Q fever caused by Coxiella Burneti. My father had it and it lasted weeks - and again can have long term consequences.
 

TLH

Active member
On a more positive note regular caving improves physical fitness and wellbeing. That helps avoid many ailments and problems.
A friend of mine used to suffer badly from hayfever in the summer and loved getting underground for some relief. On balance I think you'll be more healthy from gong caving than less.
I second this! I suffer with hayfever type symptoms all year round, and quite enjoy things clearing up whilst underground!
 

mikem

Well-known member
Silicosis and other related lung problems are likely to be a major factor with miners and potentially cavers (particularly diggers):
 
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langcliffe

Well-known member
Silicosis and other related lung problems are likely to be a major factor with miners and potentially cavers (particularly diggers):

As far as cavers are concerned, even the keenest of cave diggers is unlikely (to quote the NHS) to inhale "large amounts of crystalline silica dust, usually over many years."
 

georgenorth

Active member
As far as cavers are concerned, even the keenest of cave diggers is unlikely (to quote the NHS) to inhale "large amounts of crystalline silica dust, usually over many years."
I’d be pretty astonished if calcium carbonate dust didn’t have a similar effect to silica dust regarding lung disease. It’s far less common in industry and therefore doesn’t seem to have been studied to the same extent.
I have considered wearing a respirator for drilling in caves - I absolutely would if I was doing it for work, so why not for my hobby.
 

langcliffe

Well-known member
I’d be pretty astonished if calcium carbonate dust didn’t have a similar effect to silica dust regarding lung disease. It’s far less common in industry and therefore doesn’t seem to have been studied to the same extent.
You may be right - I don't know. But it is the contention that it requires a large amount of dust being inhaled over many years that is also relevant.
 

georgenorth

Active member
You may be right - I don't know. But it is the contention that it requires a large amount of dust being inhaled over many years that is also relevant.
Agreed, although I still think it’s something that’s worth considering if you’re doing a lot of drilling. The cumulative effect of capping fumes may be more of a concern though.
 

2xw

Active member
If we're digging in sandy, gypsum heavy digs should we realistically be wearing masks? If so anyone know what kind please
 

georgenorth

Active member
If we're digging in sandy, gypsum heavy digs should we realistically be wearing masks? If so anyone know what kind please
Digging in sand is unlikely to generate the really fine particles which cause the damage (smaller than are visible to the naked eye). Generally it’s using power tools (drills, grinders etc) which creates the fine dust. Breathing in cement dust is also a bad idea though.

If you do need a respirator (e.g. for a diy project!) then I recommend the JSP Force 8 half face ones:

They’re much more effective than the cheap paper masks. It’s worth being aware that you do need to be clean shaven for them to form a good seal though!
hth.
 
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georgenorth

Active member
PPE man goes to work sanding the bedroom floor.
 

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kay

Well-known member
I second this! I suffer with hayfever type symptoms all year round, and quite enjoy things clearing up whilst underground!
The prolonged submersion in cold water does wonders for my arthritis - joints feel they've been given a silk lining.
 

braveduck

Active member
Digging in sand is unlikely to generate the really fine particles which cause the damage (smaller than are visible to the naked eye). Generally it’s using power tools (drills, grinders etc) which creates the fine dust. Breathing in cement dust is also a bad idea though.

If you do need a respirator (e.g. for a diy project!) then I recommend the JSP Force 8 half face ones:

They’re much more effective than the cheap paper masks. It’s worth being aware that you do need to be clean shaven for them to form a good seal though!
hth.
Talking of clean shaven types ,It was a well know fact that among the old Mining fraternity . The ones with big bushy beards did live longer due to the filtering effect !
 
Silica is the biggest risk to construction workers after asbestos.


Several of my great uncles died in late middle age from silicosis, but they were coal miners, underground every working day from their teams till their 50s. I think they all smoked too, which likely didn't help either. I think you'd need to do a hell of a lot of cave digging to have even 1% of their exposure to dust. That's not to say inhaling dust isn't a thing to avoid, but let's keep it in proportion
 

Speleofish

Active member
Bear in mind that the effects of smoking and silica or asbestos exposure are more than additive. In other words, if you don't smoke, you've got a reasonable chance of getting your pension (though nor for very long). If you smoke and go mining, the government will probably save money.
 
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