WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
Smoke inhalation is when you breathe in harmful smoke from burning materials and gases. This harmful smoke may contain chemicals or poisons, such as carbon monoxide and cyanide. When you inhale this harmful smoke, your lungs and airways may become irritated, swollen, and blocked. The damaged airways and lungs prevent oxygen from getting into your blood, and respiratory failure may develop. Respiratory failure means you cannot breathe well enough to get oxygen to the cells of your body.
- Bronchodilators: You may need bronchodilators to help open the air passages in your lungs, and help you breathe more easily.
- Take your medicine as directed. Call your primary healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
Follow up with your primary healthcare provider as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
Avoid airway irritation:
Your lungs may get irritated more easily during the next several weeks. Avoid working with or being around irritating chemicals and smoke. Intense exercise may also cause some lung irritation. Exercise at a level that is comfortable for you.
Prevent smoke inhalation:
- To prevent fires, make sure that electrical wiring, chimneys, wood stoves, and space heaters are working properly. Use flammable liquids safely and store them in a locked area out of the reach of children.
- Do not leave lit cigarettes unattended, and discard them properly. Keep cigarette lighters and matches in a safe place where children cannot reach them.
- Make an escape plan in case a fire breaks out in your home. Practice it often with your family. Crawl on the floor to escape a burning building. The air will be cooler and clearer.
- Use smoke detectors in your house, and check them regularly to make sure they are working.
Contact your primary healthcare provider if:
- You have a fever.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
Return to the emergency department if:
- You cough up or vomit blood.
- You have a fast heartbeat and chest pain.
- You have increased shortness of breath.
- You have weakness, and pale and clammy skin.
- You have wheezing.
- Your lips or fingernails turn blue.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.