Inhalation Injury

Your exam shows you have suffered an inhalation injury. This is common after exposure to smoke or vapors of toxic chemicals which irritate the airway. Symptoms of an inhalation injury include cough, chest pain, and shortness of breath. Sometimes toxic inhalation symptoms can be delayed for up to 24 hours after exposure. Most of the time symptoms are much improved within 1-2 days.

Hospital care does not appear to be needed at this time. Do not smoke or expose yourself to secondhand smoke or any other chemical, solvent, or material (such as ammonia or chlorine) that produces potentially harmful gases or fumes. If this is unavoidable, then you must be in a well-ventilated space.


  • Drink plenty of clear liquids to soothe your throat.

  • Cough medicine and medications to dilate the airway passages may be prescribed. Use these as directed.

  • If a follow-up exam is recommended, it is important to keep that appointment with your caregiver.

  • If you are inside, it is important to be in a well ventilated area.

  • Consider installation of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors if none currently exist.


  • You have increasing shortness of breath or wheezing.

  • You have a persistent cough or cough up blood or dark material.

  • You have chest pain, fever, or severe weakness.

  • You have a fainting episode.


  • Understand these instructions.

  • Will watch your condition.

  • Will get help right away if you are not doing well or get worse.