What are the signs of fume inhalation?

 Dr. Kathleen Handal, MD
Emergency Medicine
Signs and symptoms of injury from inhaling fumes can be sudden or delayed. In a fire, victims are often overcome by smoke inhalation before the flames reach them. In other situations, damage to the lungs may not be evident for 36 hours after exposure. Children and elderly are most vulnerable. Dangerous fumes arise from car exhaust, cleaning solvents and other everyday chemicals. The type of fume and the duration of exposure will determine the extent of the damage.

The following signs and symptoms indicate fume inhalation:
  • Burns around mouth or neck - Soot in nostrils or phlegm
  • Singed hairs around nose
  • Hoarse voice or no voice at all
  • Wheezing
  • Drooling or dribbling
  • Noisy breathing, gasping for breath
  • Burning sensation on inhaling
  • Confusion, disorientation

Continue Learning about First Aid For Medical Emergencies & Conditions

Avoid Unnecessary Trips to the Emergency Department
Avoid Unnecessary Trips to the Emergency Department
In the movie Pay It Forward, the storyline is all about doing good deeds for strangers who, in turn, pass on a good deed to someone they don’t know. O...
Read More
How do I remove my gloves after giving emergency care?
American Red CrossAmerican Red Cross
After giving care and making sure to never touch the bare skin with the outside of either glove, r...
More Answers
How can someone at work help me if I have a seizure?
The best thing you can do for them is to protect them from injury during the seizure. Lay them on th...
More Answers
Introducing the Texas Two Step CPR Campaign
Introducing the Texas Two Step CPR Campaign

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.