What should I do after breathing in a lot of dust

Some of the answers to this question found on Quora

“This is an excellent question and the answer to it will vary depending on what type of dust you have breathed in.  The truth be told, we all breathe in lots of dust everyday.  Most dust will be filtered out by the hairs and mucus lining in your nose.

However, dust that is inhaled from asbestos or fiberglass is another matter entirely.  In this case, a trip to the hospital is imperative and without delay.  Unfortunately, there is no cure for asbestos being inhaled but doctors may prescribe breathing treatments and medication to help with the symptoms.  This is why companies exist where employees have the equipment and training to remove these materials safely.

Working with wood and drywall can be dangerous because of the dust these material can create.  Always wear a dust mask to prevent dust inhalation.  Extended periods of breathing in the dust will potentially cause lung problems.

That being said if you breathe in too much dust from cleaning a dirty room you may begin to sneeze and/or cough which is your body’s attempt to remove the dust.  If you went beyond what the body can expel by sneezing and/or coughing you usually will experience a sore throat.  When this happens drinking a cool glass of water will help to flush your throat.  Sometimes a cough drop will help the throat to recover faster.

If breathing in a lot of dust around your home is a concern for you why not hire a professional cleaning company to clean your home and let them handle the dust.”


“Healthy lungs constantly make mucus and we constantly clear our airways for precisely this sort of situation: dust particles get trapped in the mucus and we cough it up and out. Of course, we also (usually) breathe through our noses which have tiny hairs in them which clean the air we breathe, trapping a lot of the particulate matter. Our noses also warm and moisturize the air we breathe, which helps particles become caught. Between the two mechanisms, a lot of the air we breathe is substantially cleaner, once it gets to our lungs; if it isn’t, it gets coughed up and out over time. When we smoke, our lungs try mightily to keep up with the amount of nastiness that we inhale, but with the carbon monoxide, the heat, and the tar in cigarettes, they simply can’t keep up, and become damaged. Over time, once one quits smoking, the lungs are able to renew themselves and we cough out a lot of the crap. Probably the best thing you can do after breathing a lot of dust would be to get yourself to the cleanest air you can find, bearing in mind that air-conditioned air is usually cleaner than outside air. Stay there for as long as you can – sleep there, if possible!  There’s really not a lot else you CAN do.”


“Immediately, put all the clothes you were wearing into the wash. Then have a thorough shower, with particular attention to washing your hair. If you feel at all sick or otherwise “unusual”, drink a large glass of milk.

Expect to cough, and encourage it: spit out what you cough up, do not swallow it.

While you are doing all this, think about the dust. If it was from asbestos, any other unidentified building insulant, sawdust, or any insoluble mineral dust such as from mica, stone-cutting, or metallic dust, go to your nearest hospital immediately. If possible, take a sample of the dust with you.

Finally, don’t do it again: a dust mask is cheap, and life isn’t.”


“If you find yourself coughing, let it happen. Drink lots of water/fluid  so that your body can hydrate your secretions well. I think that you  should be able to clear the material in a day or two, if it isn’t too  bad.

The  little hairs in your airways and nose will be busy clearing all the junk  out of your lungs. If you blow your nose and see strange material, it  may be from what you breathed in. The material in your lungs should get  out of your lungs and be swallowed naturally, as normal.”

Dust Monitoring Equipment – providing equipment, services and training in dust fallout management to the mining industry.


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