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Chris C.
Chris C., Nurse
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 1081
Experience:  Nurse with with 10+ yrs. in wellness care, geriatrics, hospice and acute care.
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Inhaled cat litter dust and feeling short of breath.

Resolved Question:

I inhaled a lot of dust from cat litter yesterday and for the next few hours I was feeling short of breath, my throat was sore and my chest was very tight.

I have been better today, but I went to class and was walking outside for a bit, now I am getting the chest tightness again. Do I have anything to worry about or will this go away?

Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  Chris C. replied 4 years ago.

The dust will works it way out but this process can be slow since you basically have breathed in rocks. This can cause inflammation and that can cause discomfort for a few days.

<span style="font-size: 1em;"Customer: Okay, thank you. Does it make sense that it got worse after walking which caused deep breathing? I was feeling better until then.
medtech254 : Yes if the dust has accumulated on the lung surfaces any exertion would make breathing worse.
Customer: Thanks. Would mucinex or another expectorant help?
medtech254 : Plenty of water and tussin, mucinex, or a similar expectorant would help.
Customer: Ok, thank you. Regarding my other symptoms, how exactly does anxiety cause these? Today I have felt dizzy and lightheaded, had a hard time eating, had the shortness of breath and chest tightness (probably related to the cat litter), etc. And I've also had the need to eat frequently, gas and bloating, general weakness/malaise feeling, etc. I don't doubt that anxiety can cause those symptoms but I feel like my symptoms are more physical and less mental than most with anxiety disorder.
medtech254 : Anxiety can be very much a physical issue as well as mental. You may not realize that what you are feeling is anxiety and are focusing on just the physical symptoms. Anxiety often varies from day to day just like the symptoms you are having. Most illnesses will not cause issues one day and then not the next only to return later. I would think that the most logical cause is anxiety. Your period may have an effect on the way you feel now.
<span style="font-size: 1em;"Customer: Thanks so much. What physical illnesses could cause these symptoms with all normal blood work? I am starting to get some pains in my back, could this go along with lung irritation or is it just from anxiety?
medtech254 : No I think you are having a lot of symptoms caused by anxiety. Did you get your buspar filled and start taking it? Did it help?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I went to the doctor on Thursday because the physical symptoms were getting worse and was prescribed Zoloft and told to stop the Buspar. I haven't been able to tell a difference with it yet but hopefully I will.

For the past couple of days the roof of my mouth and my tongue have been sore and my throat feels very tight, I thought it was acid reflux but today I woke up sweating and with shortness of breath and my throat feels worse. Could a cold come on this way?

Expert:  Chris C. replied 4 years ago.

Yes this could be a cold. The zoloft will take some time to be effective.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I don't think it's a cold because I haven't had a stuffy nose. I went to a walk-in clinic and they said it could be a sinus infection or strep starting, but would these cause chest pain? I'm still concerned about the cat litter thing a week ago but it wouldn't still be causing problems now would it?

Expert:  Chris C. replied 4 years ago.

Yes by cold/sinus type symptoms. The cat litter should not be still causing symptoms at this point or at least the dust exposure you had. Do you regularly clean the litter box? How many cats do you have? A sinus infection would not cause chest pain. Bronchitis, etc could cause chest discomfort.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you. I only have one cat, the litter box is cleaned regularly but my boyfriend has been cleaning it since then.

The chest pain is better tonight and hopefully it will be better tomorrow but I am still having throat tightness.

Expert:  Chris C. replied 4 years ago.
That's good to hear.