Smoke inhalation is a dangerous hazard that can cause injuries, just as burns can during a fire. Smoke inhalation is considered the primary cause of death for indoor fires. Normally, a victim will inhale the hot gaseous product that is caused by combustion, and this will cause almost immediate respiratory complications.
About 50% to 80% of all fire deaths are the result of smoke inhalation injuries. Oftentimes the smoke can even cause internal burns to the respiratory system. Hot smoke injures or kills by a combination of thermal damage, poisoning, and pulmonary irritation and swelling. This happens because of the combination of carbon monoxide, cyanide, and other combustion products within the smoke.
If you start coughing near a fire or suffer from vomiting or nausea, then these may be signs that you are suffering from smoke inhalation. Also, if you become sleepy or confused then these can also be signs that you were affected by smoke inhalation. Also, burns to the nose, mouth, face can be signs of smoke inhalation and can cause serious injuries.
Sometimes those who have suffered from inhaling too much smoke will have difficulty breathing or will suffer from carbonaceous sputum or burned saliva. As well, one-third of all patients who are admitted to emergency rooms after smoke inhalation suffer from a pulmonary injury as a result of the hot smoke. Many times those that are injured need mechanical ventilation right away to avoid suffering serious internal injuries from the hot smoke.
Those who have inhaled large amounts of smoke need medical attention immediately. Oftentimes victims require humidified oxygen, bronchodilators, suction, or endotracheal tube and chest therapy to help them recover.