Fire Damage >> Smoke Inhalation

Exposure to Smoke inhalation from Fires The Smoke inhalation released by any type of fire (forest, brush, crop, structure, tires, waste or wood burning) is a mixture of particles and chemicals produced by incomplete burning of carbon-containing materials. All Smoke Inhalation contains carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and particulate matter (PM or soot).

Smoke inhalation can contain many different chemicals, including aldehydes, acid gases, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), benzene, toluene, styrene, metals and dioxins. The type and amount of particles and chemicals in Smoke inhalation varies depending on what is burning, how much oxygen is available, Smoke Inhalation and the burn temperature.

Exposure to high levels of Smoke inhalation should be avoided. Individuals are advised to limit their physical exertion if exposure to high levels of Smoke inhalation cannot be avoided. Individuals with cardiovascular or respiratory conditions (e.g., asthma), fetuses, infants, young children, Smoke Inhalation and the elderly may be more vulnerable to the health effects of Smoke inhalation exposure.

Inhaling Smoke Inhalation for a short time can cause immediate (acute) effects. Smoke inhalation is irritating to the eyes, nose, and throat, and its odor may be nauseating. Studies have shown that some people exposed to heavy Smoke inhalation have temporary changes in lung function, which makes breathing more difficult.

Two of the major agents in Smoke inhalation that can cause health effects are carbon monoxide gas and very small particles (fine particles, or PM2.5 ). These particles are two and one half (2.5) microns or less in size (25,400 microns equal an inch) and Smoke Inhalation individual particles are too small to be seen with the naked eye.

Inhaling carbon monoxide decreases the body's oxygen supply. This can cause headaches, reduce alertness, and aggravate a heart condition known as angina. Fine particles are able to travel deeply into the respiratory tract, reaching the lungs. Inhaling fine particles can cause a variety of health effects, including respiratory irritation and shortness of breath, Smoke Inhalation and can worsen medical conditions such as asthma and heart disease.

During increased physical exertion, cardiovascular effects can be worsened by exposure to carbon monoxide and particulate matter. Once exposure stops, symptoms from inhaling carbon monoxide or fine particles generally diminish, Smoke Inhalation but may last for a couple of days.

Avoiding smoky situations is the best way to avoid exposure. If your age or health status places you at greater risk from Smoke Inhalation exposure you should speak with your doctor about alternative steps you can take when encountering smoky situations.

Anyone with persisting or frequent symptoms that they think are associated with Smoke inhalation exposure should see their health care provider. Additional information on carbon monoxide and fine particles can be found at the web addresses listed at the end of this fact sheet. Smoke Inhalation

There is also the potential for chronic health effects from exposure to the components of Smoke inhalation. Long term exposure to ambient air containing fine particles has been associated with increases in cardiovascular disease and mortality in populations living in areas with higher fine particulate air pollution. Smoke Inhalation

Frequent exposure to Smoke inhalation for brief periods may also cause long-term health effects. Firefighters, Smoke Inhalation who are exposed frequently to Smoke inhalation, have been examined for long-term health effects (for example, cancer, lung disease, and cardiovascular disease) of repeated Smoke inhalation exposures.

The findings from these studies are not consistent or conclusive. Some studies show an increased frequency of these diseases among firefighters compared to similar male reference populations (e.g., male policemen, white males in the general population), Smoke Inhalation while others do not.

When it is necessary to work in heavy Smoke Inhalation, use appropriate respiratory protection to reduce exposure to the particles and gases in Smoke inhalation. However, understand the limitations and cautions associated with respirator use before you use one. Important information on respirators is available at the web address listed at the end of this fact sheet.

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