Fire Extinguisher : 101

Fire Extinguisher : 101

Smoke Inhalation Symptoms and Treatment

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This page is intended to provide individuals with general information pertaining to treatment methods for smoke inhalation symptoms.

Smoke caused by a fire is an asphyxiant that takes away the atmosphere’s oxygen and replaces it with dangerous chemicals such as carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulfide, and hydrogen cyanide. Fire smoke inhalation, and not body burns, causes approximately 50 to 80% of deaths related to fire disasters.

A person suffering from smoke inhalation symptoms typically requires immediate medical attention. Smoke inhalation treatment varies in accordance with the symptoms displayed by the victim.

Smoke Inhalation SymptomsSmoke Inhalation Symptoms
A person caught in a building that is on fire will experience smoke inhalation symptoms almost instantaneously, the most common of which are coughing, breathing difficulties, hoarseness, headache, upset stomach, vomiting, sleepiness, confusion, and dark colored spit and saliva. The victim may also develop a cherry-red or bluish gray skin color, which is an indication that the person is not receiving enough oxygen. At this stage, it is possible for the person to lose consciousness or stop breathing altogether. Removal from the premises and immediate medical attention is required.

Smoke Inhalation Treatment
Anyone experiencing smoke inhalation symptoms, especially breathing problems, excessive coughing, and/or mental confusion, should immediately seek smoke inhalation treatment by either calling their medical doctor or dialing an emergency number.

Upon arrival at the hospital, the patient is most likely to receive supplemental oxygen via a tube or mask, or undergo hyperbaric oxygen therapy if an excessive concentration of carbon monoxide is present in the blood stream. The patient may also receive various forms of medication to aid combat the symptoms.

Thereafter, a number of tests may be performed to assess the severity of the case. Typical tests include a chest x-ray for victims experiencing coughing and breathing difficulties, blood tests to determine whether or not the amount of red cells in the blood stream is adequate, and other examinations to detect possible signs of low blood pressure and changes in the pH level.

Preventing a Disaster
There is a simple method to prevent smoke inhalation resulting from a fire in your home or at your work place. Installing smoke and carbon monoxide detectors at strategic places in your living environment is ideal. Their warning signal allows you sufficient time to escape in case of fire. Moreover, a proper emergency escape route planned out beforehand will minimize panic and disorganization.



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