If you enter the oyster mushroom growing chamber, and there is white dust there, it means that the mushrooms have already grown old and have begun to secrete spores, they are very light and instantly scatter throughout the room.
With aging, oyster mushrooms lose weight, so harvesting it on time, before sporulation begins, is beneficial not only in terms of health, but also economically.
Below in the photo we see such a mushroom – small white threads hanging on the plates (hymenophore), on the bottom of the cap – these are the spores that have stuck to the hyphae of the secondary mycelium.
How oyster mushroom spores affect health. Allergy
Mushroom spores, even in small quantities, as well as pollen and seeds of some plants, can cause allergies in a person predisposed to it.
Many people work on mushroom farms for years, breathe air that contains spores and they don’t have allergies.
Some workers begin to cough after a while.
And there is a small percentage of people who feel bad after being in the grow room for just a few minutes.
What happens if you inhale mushroom spores
Oyster mushroom allergy symptoms
The diseased condition manifests itself in the form of redness of the skin, often accompanied by high fever and fatigue, in which it is difficult to think clearly.
In some people, the face turns purple, literally, and swelling appears.
A dry cough may begin, often turning into a constant desire to clear your throat.
The lungs produce mucus that coats the spores, and the body’s natural response is to cough up this mucus.
Antitussive syrups that thin the mucus will not help here. They even make things worse. From the immune system’s point of view, the liquid mucus doesn’t isolate the spores well enough, so the mucus production team comes in again.
If you do not react to the cough, it will get worse and you will have chronic bronchitis.
Unfortunately, if you have such a reaction, it is unlikely that you will be able to work in the oyster mushroom growing room – you will need a worker to pick mushrooms.
If you will be transporting the mushrooms yourself, you must carefully cover the mushroom boxes with a film or cloth and slightly open the windows in the car.
You need to treat a cough from oyster mushroom spores like any other allergy – contact an allergist, describe the symptoms and follow his instructions.
Allergic manifestations most often mean that the liver cannot cope with the elimination of toxins. So check it out too. Also balance your diet.
Your allergist will most likely prescribe an allergy medicine for you. Be prepared for the fact that medicines, alas, will not help you.
Also, these pills don’t cure allergies, they just suppress the symptoms! In other words, your body will resist less, not hurt less.
How to reduce the harmful effects of spores?
First, it is necessary to observe the optimal microclimate parameters for the strain being grown.
At high temperatures, oyster mushrooms not only grow rapidly and lose weight, but also age very quickly: they begin to produce and secrete spores.
In the summer, in the growing chamber in the mornings, there is white dust near the blocks, a fog of spores, if the mushrooms are not picked at night.
Don’t let the drusen of oyster mushrooms outgrow.
Collect them on time, when the cap of the largest mushrooms in the joint is about 4-5, maximum 6 cm in diameter.
Then the spore will form much less. In summer, collect bunches 3-4 times a day.
Secondly, exhaust ventilation should always work in the chamber, and not on a timer, thus you can significantly reduce the concentration of oyster mushroom spores.
Especially many spores are isolated by strains of oyster mushroom pulmonaris.
More about strains.
Thirdly, when picking mushrooms, use a respirator yourself and force your workers!
Show them the blades of the exhaust fan (see photo) and ask if they want to breathe this muck?
What kind of respirator to use when harvesting oyster mushrooms
Respirators with filtration class P3 must be used.
In the American standard, this filtration class is called P100.
Disposable respirators should be labeled FFP3.
Such respirators are marked in red, pink or purple – this is either the color of the valve or filter, or the inscriptions on it.
Disposable respirators do not fit snugly to the face, so some of the spores enter the lungs. If there is a lot of spores in the growing chamber, it is better to use masks or half masks with replaceable filters.
When buying half mask respirators, pay attention to the quality of the sealant. It should be elastic silicone. The coarser rubber sealant is very difficult to fit to the shape of the face and will chafe the skin.
When buying filters, please note to the seller that you are working in a room with high humidity. You need filters coated with a water repellent.
After finishing work, replaceable filters must be pulled out of the mask and dried.
Ask the seller how to determine that it is time to change the filter. In any case, change it at least once a month or when you find it difficult to breathe.
Take care of your health!
I recommend mushroom growers to do yoga breathing exercises, they are very simple and do not take much time.
Even if you don’t believe in yoga at all (many people have told me so), try doing these three easy exercises for just a week before dismissing their benefits. These exercises are good for cough mushroom growers. Since during breathing, the blood supply to the lungs improves and they are cleared of mucus.
Standing, raise your arms above your head through the sides, and touch your fingers. While raising your arms, inhale quite deeply, but so that your head is not spinning. Do not raise your hands quickly, measure with your breath. Then exhale slowly as you lower your arms. Repeat 6 to 8 times.
Stretch your arms forward in front of your chest. Clench into fists imaginary ropes (or rubber) that hang from the ceiling. With a deep breath, spread your arms to the sides shoulder-width apart, imagining that you are stretching imaginary ropes with effort. Spread your arms as far as possible so that the chest is fully opened. With an exhalation, bring your hands together, slightly crossing, first the right hand on top, on the next breath – the left hand on top. Extend your arms to the sides again with an inhalation. Repeat at least 6 times. But 8 times is better.
Stand up straight and exhale. Then inhale, at the same time raising the right leg to the chest, bent at the knee. You can help yourself with your hands. As you exhale, lower your leg. Repeat the exercise with the other leg.
Make sure your back is straight. And so that you raise your leg to your chest, but not lower your chest to your knee.
Start doing each exercise for one minute, 3-4 times a day. Gradually increase the time of each exercise to 2-3 minutes.
The exercises are taken from the book by Sivananda Swami “Yoga Therapy. A new look at traditional yoga therapy»