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Smoke inhalation is the primary cause of death in victims of indoor fires.
Additional recommended knowledge
Smoke inhalation injury refers to injury due to inhalation or exposure to hot gaseous products of combustion. This can cause serious respiratory complications
It is estimated that "50-80% of fire deaths are the result of smoke inhalation injuries rather than burns." The smoke injures or kills by a combination of thermal damage, poisoning and pulmonary irritation caused by carbon monoxide, cyanide and other combustion products.
Signs and symptoms
Symptoms range from coughing and vomiting to nausea, sleepiness and confusion. Burns to the nose, mouth and face; singed nostril hairs; and difficulty breathing / carbonaceous sputum (burned saliva) are also signs of smoke inhalation injury. Approximately one third of patients admitted to burns unit have pulmonary injury from smoke inhalation. The death rate of patients with both severe burns and smoke inhalation can be in excess of 50%.
Any person with apparent signs of smoke inhalation should be immediately evaluated by a medical professional such as a firefighter-paramedic or physician. Advanced medical care may be necessary to save the life of the patient, including mechanical ventilation, even if the person is conscious and alert. Pending advanced intervention, the patient should be brought into fresh air and given medical oxygen if available.
Smoke inhalation causes three complications:
Treatment consists of humidified oxygen, bronchodilators, suction, endotracheal tube and chest physiotherapy. Other measures include adequate fluids and control of infection by daily sputum stains and appropriate antibiotics.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Smoke_inhalation". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|