Can Cleaning Cat Litter Boxes Cause Sinus Problems?

by Genevieve Van Wyden, Demand Media
    Your furbaby's litter box makes you sick.

    Your furbaby's litter box makes you sick.

    Ewww. It’s time to clean the cat’s litter box, and you know what’s going to happen. After finishing this dirty, icky job, you'll start sniffling, sneezing, and feeling stuffy. If you’re really unlucky, you'll get a headache. You could be allergic to your furbaby’s litter box.

    Cat Litter Boxes and Sinus Problems

    Every time you tackle this lovely (not) job you get sick, and it takes you several hours to begin feeling normal again. Look at how you complete this task: You pour the used litter into a trash bag or a lined trash can, and this coats you in the dust from the litter, not to mention cat dander and the waste that’s inside the litter. That is gross. You need to make some changes that allow you to stay relatively healthy every time you clean his potty and change the litter.

    Cats, Dander and Cat Waste

    Think about it. Really, even though this will sound just a bit disgusting. Your furbaby places his little hiney on the litter to do his business. He deposits dander from his skin onto the cat litter. He doesn’t do this on purpose -- it just happens.
    As your cat’s urine sits in the litter box, it undergoes a change. When you smell it, you choke. Combine the dander with the aged urine, and you have just walked into a cocktail that’s custom-made for a sinus attack.

    Composition of Litter

    Most litters are dusty. When you change his litter box, you end up breathing in dust from the fresh litter, no matter how long or how hard you hold your breath. Think about what your cat does after he does his business. He paws at the litter -- raising more dust -- as he buries the poop and urine. Cough, cough, cough.

    Handling Sinus Problems

    Buy a good allergen-filter mask, and use it every time you change your beloved furbaby’s litter box. Ask your doctor whether he'll write a prescription for you to get this filter mask. “Oh, I can just go to the dollar store and buy the painter’s masks,” you might be thinking. Sorry, but those won’t work.
    Buy a nasal rinse kit at your pharmacy. You can find them over the counter. Although it’s a bit gross to think of rinsing your nasal passages, it does flush the allergens away.
    Ask your doctor about a referral to an allergist, who can test you for specific allergens. If you are allergic to dander and dust, he can start you on prescription allergy medications.

    About the Author

    Genevieve Van Wyden began writing in 2007. She has written for “Tu Revista Latina” and owns three blogs. She has worked as a CPS social worker, gaining experience in the mental-health system. Van Wyden earned her Bachelor of Arts in journalism from New Mexico State University in 2006.

    Photo Credits

    • Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images