What You Should Know about Smoke Inhalation: Symptoms, Treatment, and More
We all know that smoking – the cigarette, the pipe, the cigar – is bad for you, and that it can lead to serious medical conditions that are often irreversible and that can amount to tremendous costs in terms of lives and financial means. This has long been understood. Here’s the thing: many people suffer serious consequences involuntarily through inhalation of smoke, due to accidents, chemicals, or other unfortunate incidents, and it’s time this is discussed as well.
Work-related inhalation of smoke or other causes of smoke inhalation are no joke; it happens all the time, and despite the various safety regulations in place, it still causes a problem. Do you believe you are a victim? Here’s what you should know about smoke inhalation: symptoms, treatment, and more.
What does smoke inhalation mean?
Smoke inhalation means that you inhale particles that are caused by combustion; the combustible material mixes with oxygen and, after burning, turns into smoke – which then enters the lungs and can give you serious biological problems. Smoke is a mixture of harmful gas and airborne particles. The harmfulness of the smoke can never be predicted in advance, as it depends on the combustible materials, the temperature of the fire, and the amount of oxygen that is involved.
Inhaling smoke can damage your health in two important ways:
- Simple asphyxiation – this means the air you breathe is so thick with smoke that there is not enough oxygen for your body to perform normally; in extreme cases this can cause death.
- Absence of oxygen – it’s possible that the fire which causes the smoke uses up all the oxygen in the burning process; so even if the smoke itself is not directly harmful, the cause of the smoke may reduce the oxygen level to such a degree that asphyxiation still takes place.
Regardless of the level of oxygen in the air that you breathe, the smoke itself may be ridden with dangerous compounds that either affect your lungs directly or get into your bloodstream and harm you in other ways.
When to seek help
If you have been exposed to smoke and feel you have trouble either with your airways, your breathing, or your blood circulation, seek medical help immediately.
The medical treatment for conditions caused by smoke inhalation can be very painful, burdensome, obtrusive, and expensive; it can involve X-rays, oxygen requirements, hyperbaric oxygenation, and so much more – it is a serious problem and it is only right that it should be taken seriously. Moreover, there are many follow-ups once a medical condition has been recognised, and it’s truly a condition that can seriously disturb lives. If you have any symptoms described above, seek medical help, understand that it needs to be dealt with immediately, and seek compensation for burns and inhalation when you can.