Smoke Inhalation

Thursday, June 25, 2015

The number one cause of death related to fires is smoke inhalation. An estimated 50 to 80 percent of fire deaths are the result of smoke inhalation injuries rather than burns. Dr. Edward Hill discusses smoke inhalation injuries in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

Smoke inhalation occurs when you breathe in the products of combustion during a fire.

Smoke inhalation damages the body by simple asphyxiation, or lack of oxygen, chemical irritation, chemical asphyxiation or a combination of these.

Numerous signs and symptoms of smoke inhalation may develop. Symptoms may include cough, shortness of breath, hoarseness, headache and acute mental status changes.

Seek medical attention if you or a loved one experiences the following symptoms with smoke inhalation:

Hoarse voice

Difficulty breathing

Prolonged coughing spells, or

Mental confusion

A number of treatments may be given for smoke inhalation including:

Oxygen, a mainstay of treatment. It can be applied with a nose tube, mask or through a tube down the throat.

Bronchoscopy, which is a procedure performed through a small scope to directly look at the degree of damage done to the airways and to allow for suctioning of secretions and debris, and

Hyperbaric oxygenation, a treatment in which the patient is given oxygen in a compression chamber.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.