According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, toxic smoke inhalation is one of the leading causes of death, with 5,000 to 10,000 fatalities each year. During a fire, it doesn’t take long for a room or a home to fill with smoke, and the longer you are exposed, the higher the probability of serious injury or even death.
How to Prevent or Minimize Smoke Inhalation Symptoms
The best way to prevent smoke inhalation is to prevent a fire from starting in the first place by knowing the most likely places and reasons they start:
- Space heaters,
- Electrical malfunction, and
However, a fire igniting can be beyond your control, so knowing what to do if it does happen can help save your life and your home. Home fires spread quickly, that is why it is important to have the proper protection in place, including monitored smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
Having a professionally-monitored home security system can help detect smoke and fire, and dispatch appropriate emergency help. If you are ever caught in a fire, however, here is what you can do to reduce your chances of inhaling toxic smoke:
- Drop low to the ground. – During a fire, heat rises so the air lowest to the ground contains less dangerous smoke.
- Find the first, safest exit from the home. – Planning an escape route for your home is a great way to prepare for this type of emergency.
What are the Symptoms of Smoke Inhalation?
If you or a loved one has inhaled smoke from a home fire, depending on the amount and composition of the smoke, the following symptoms may occur:
- Hoarse speaking voice,
- Irritated/Red eyes,
- Shortness of breath,
- Chest pain/tightness,
- Running nose,
- Cardiovascular pain/swelling, and
- Loss of consciousness
How to Treat Smoke Inhalation?
Once exposure to toxic smoke occurs, the affected person should be moved to a location where they can breathe fresh air. The goal is to increase the level of oxygen intake until medical officials arrive at the scene.
If you or someone you know has been affected by smoke inhalation, seek medical help immediately. For professional help and information on equipping your home for fire prevention, contact us.