Smoke inhalation occurs when a person breathes in hot air, smoke, or chemical fumes, which can cause burns or swelling in the air passages. Life-threatening carbon monoxide poisoning can occur with smoke inhalation.
The person may be restless, confused, or violent from the smoke and toxic gases inhaled. A changed mental state may be a direct effect of the toxins or may be caused by a lack of oxygen (hypoxia).
Urgent medical attention is needed for someone with symptoms of smoke inhalation. These symptoms include:
- Difficulty breathing.
- Noisy breathing.
- Hoarseness, trouble speaking, or inability to speak in full sentences.
- Dark-colored sputum.
- A change in mental state, such as restlessness, confusion, or sleepiness (lethargy).
Current as of: November 14, 2022
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & R. Steven Tharratt MD, MPVM, FACP, FCCP - Pulmonology, Critical Care Medicine, Medical Toxicology