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Smoke Inhalation

Intro

If the smoke inhalation victim has no signs or symptoms, home observation may be appropriate. If in doubt, call the doctor or go to the local emergency department for advice.

Seek medical attention if the patient experience the following symptoms with smoke inhalation:

  • Hoarse voice
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Prolonged coughing spells
  • Mental confusion
  • Decide whether to call an ambulance for assistance.
    • Someone with smoke inhalation can get worse quickly.
    • Person were transported by If such a person were transported by private vehicle, significant injury or death could occur on the way that could have been avoided if that emergency medical services.
Self-Care at Home

Remove the person with smoke inhalation from the scene to a location with clean air.

Make sure that you are not putting yourself in danger before you attempt to pull someone from a smoke-filled environment. If you would be taking a serious risk to help the person, wait for trained professionals to arrive at the scene.

If necessary, CPR should be initiated by trained bystanders until emergency medical help arrives.

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Follow-up

Once the patient leaves the hospital, follow-up care is typically arranged. The patient should return immediately to the emergency department if they feel that their condition is worsening after discharge from the hospital.

  • Medications may be prescribed, such as various inhalers and pain medications.
  • The patient may notice shortness of breath with minimal exertion.
  • It may take time for the lungs to fully heal, and some people may have scarring and shortness of breath for the rest of their lives. Avoid triggering factors, such as cigarette smoke.
  • Persistent hoarseness of the voice may occur in people who have sustained burn or smoke inhalation injuries or both. Early attention to these problems, many of which are treatable surgically or behaviorally or both, could lead to an improved voice.
Prevention

Prevention is key when discussing smoke inhalation. Numerous prevention strategies can be employed to avoid exposure to smoke.

  • Smoke detectors should be placed in every room of occupied buildings. This should ensure early detection of smoke to allow plenty of time for evacuation.
  • Carbon monoxide detectors should be placed in locations at risk for carbon monoxide exposure (such as from malfunctioning furnaces, gas water heaters, kerosene space heaters, propane heaters and stoves, gasoline or diesel generators, and boats with a gasoline engine).
  • Escape routes and plans for how to escape should be worked out prior to the onset of a fire and reviewed often.
  • Numbers for the police, fire department, and your local poison control center should be kept in a visible place in the event of an emergency. Find your poison control center now by checking the Web site of the American Association of Poison Control Centers.

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