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Home > Wellness > Health Library > Breathing Smoke or Fumes
It is common to cough for a few minutes after breathing in smoke or
fumes from a fire. Your breathing should return to normal within a short period
of time, about 30 minutes. If your breathing does not return to normal or if your
breathing is getting worse instead of improving, it is important to think about
whether you are having breathing difficulties because of smoke
Smoke inhalation may occur in any fire. It is more likely to occur if
Symptoms of smoke inhalation include:
More serious smoke inhalation causes swelling (edema) in the air
passages. This swelling can also hurt the vocal cords, making it hard for the
person to talk.
Carbon monoxide poisoning is a serious concern with
smoke inhalation injuries.
If smoke inhalation causes serious symptoms, or if you have any
high-risk conditions such as asthma or chronic lung disease, evaluation by a
doctor is needed.
Current as of:
December 27, 2012
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
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