Smoke inhalation involves breathing in harmful particles in the air that originate from smoke and fires. Certain jobs put people more at risk of smoke inhalation, especially when the employees do not have the proper protective gear.
Symptoms of smoke inhalation include coughing, stinging eyes, runny nose, and shortness of breath. Often, these symptoms go away on their own. However, there are more severe effects of smoke inhalation, including symptoms that might take a while to appear. These outcomes especially occur in people who are regularly exposed to smoke over a long period of time or who inhale particularly large amounts of particles.
Reduced lung function
A reduction in lung function can make it more difficult to breathe, even while going about routine, non-strenuous activities. Smoke can cause inflammation in the lungs, which reduces the organ’s function by causing them to swell and inhibit the intake of oxygen.
Inhaling chemicals released from burning materials can cause constriction of the body’s respiratory system and allow fluids to build up in the airways. This may manifest as hoarseness or raspy breathing.
Mental and other changes
Smoke inhalation can also lead to a confused mental state, fainting spells, and seizures. These are especially dangerous side effects, since someone experiencing confusion or fainting spells may not be able to make the rational decision to get themselves out of the smoky area until their symptoms pass.
Being aware of the effects of smoke inhalation can help people know when to seek medical treatment for their symptoms.