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Smoke Inhalation

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Feb 4, 2024.

What is smoke inhalation?

Smoke inhalation means you breathed in smoke from burning materials and gases. The smoke may contain chemicals or poisons, such as carbon monoxide and cyanide. The harmful chemicals may come from burning rubber, coal, plastic, or electrical wiring.

What are the signs and symptoms of smoke inhalation?

Signs and symptoms depend on the source of the smoke and how long you were exposed:

How is smoke inhalation diagnosed?

Healthcare providers will ask you about the source of the smoke that you inhaled. They will also ask about the amount of time that you were exposed to the smoke. You may need any of the following:

How is smoke inhalation treated?

Treatment depends on how the smoke affected you. Your lungs and airway may become irritated, swollen, and blocked. The damaged airway and lungs prevent oxygen from getting into your blood. You may develop respiratory failure. Respiratory failure means you cannot breathe well enough to get oxygen to the cells of your body. You may need any of the following:

How can smoke inhalation be prevented?

Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) if:

When should I seek immediate care?

When should I call my doctor?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. 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.

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