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If you’ve been sanding drywall mud and now have a host of respiratory issues, you may be wondering, “can drywall dust cause sinus infection?”
In small amounts, drywall dust doesn’t cause any issues unless you have an allergy. However, if you are a construction worker constantly inhaling large amounts of drywall dust, it can make you sick.
If you already have sinus or respiratory problems, inhaling drywall dust will likely make them worse. Plus, breathing in large amounts of drywall dust has been associated with irritated sinuses, coughing, excess mucus production, and asthma symptoms.
Here’s what else you need to know.
Can You Get Sick from Drywall Dust?
While gypsum is nontoxic, there are additives in joint compound that could potentially make you sick or aggravate your sinuses. Some of the most dangerous additives in drywall mud are respirable silica, talc, and mica.
Inhaling crystalline silica seems to be the most dangerous to your respiratory system. It can cause silicosis, which is an incurable lung disease. According to OSHA, researchers have linked exposure to respirable silica to lung cancer, autoimmune disease, kidney disease, COPD, and cardiovascular issues.
It’s also possible to develop an allergy to drywall dust. Signs of an allergy can include a runny nose and itchy eyes, nose, and throat.
If you’re a homeowner doing a one-off project, you’re not likely to get sick from a small amount of drywall silica dust. But if you’re a professional exposed to drywall dust on a daily basis and you don’t take the necessary precautions, then yes, you can get sick from breathing this in.
You can limit your chances of getting sick by always wearing a respirator or dust mask, working in well-ventilated rooms, and cleaning up dust after sanding.
Immediately cleaning up the dust will prevent it from recirculating around the room, therefore lower your instances of breathing it in.
Can Drywall Dust Cause Pneumonia?
It’s not likely that drywall dust will cause pneumonia. Pneumonia is caused by breathing in bacteria, germs, or fungi that infect the lungs, causing a variety of symptoms.
Breathing in a large amount of drywall dust over a long period may result in symptoms similar to pneumonia, such as difficulty breathing, an irritated airway, an itchy throat, and a cough. Either way, if you’re having these symptoms or suspect you have pneumonia you should seek medical attention.
Is Drywall Dust Bad To Inhale?
If you’re doing a small home improvement project and need to sand joint compound, breathing it in probably won’t cause health problems unless you have an allergic reaction. Even so, you should still take appropriate precautions to ventilate the room and wear a respirator mask.
If you’re a construction worker who breathes in a lot of drywall dust daily, then yes, it is very bad to inhale. Repeatedly breathing in drywall dust will irritate your nose, throat, and eyes. It can also bring on asthma attacks or shortness of breath.
In addition, it can cause a runny nose, coughing, and excess mucus production. These symptoms are usually worse in people with existing respiratory or sinus problems.
How Do You Get Drywall Dust Out of Your Lungs?
Luckily for you, your body will naturally remove drywall dust from your lungs. It does this by producing mucus, which helps remove and keep drywall dust from entering your system.
If you feel like inhaling drywall dust has caused adverse reactions, you should take precautions so that it doesn’t happen in the future. And in the case of extreme or persistent symptoms, seek medical attention.
Should You Wear a Mask When Sanding Drywall?
You should always wear a mask when sanding drywall. In general, it’s a good idea to wear an appropriate mask to keep dust particles out of the mouth, nose, and eyes whenever you’re doing any home improvement projects that require sanding.
You can find respirator masks at most home improvement stores. These are the best types of masks to wear when doing construction work or home improvement projects. You should also wear goggles to keep particles out of your eyes.
After you’ve finished sanding, clean up the dust with a shop vac or broom to keep them from recirculating through the air.
Also, if you’re in the construction industry and are sanding joint compound often, the CDC recommends using a pole sander to reduce your exposure to drywall dust.
If you’re a homeowner working on a DIY project, breathing in a little bit of drywall dust probably won’t cause much harm. However, if you’re in the construction industry and are breathing in drywall dust regularly, you’re facing a significant health hazard that could have severe impacts.
In both situations, you need to take appropriate precautions. This includes wearing respirator masks, ventilating the room, and cleaning up the dust after sanding the drywall. These steps will lower your risk of getting a sinus infection from drywall dust.