Smoke Inhalation, Mild

ExitCare ImageSmoke inhalation means that you have breathed in smoke. You have been evaluated for injury and conditions related to smoke inhalation, but it is extremely important that you be reevaluated if you start to feel worse.

Exposure to hot smoke from a fire can damage both the airway and lungs. Symptoms include cough, sore throat, hoarseness, chest pain, and breathing problems. The symptoms of smoke inhalation injury are often delayed for up to a day after exposure. Patients with chronic lung disease or a history of alcohol intoxication are at higher risk for serious complications. Symptoms of smoke inhalation will usually improve quickly. Further medical evaluation and even hospital care may be needed if your symptoms get worse over the next 1 to 2 days.

Do not smoke or drink alcohol. Avoid sedative drugs. Drink enough water and fluids to keep your urine clear or pale yellow. Get plenty of rest for the next 2 to 3 days.

Do not return to the area of the fire. Wait until it has been completely put out and all the smoke is gone. Wait until authorities tell you it is safe.


  • You have wheezing, difficulty breathing, or a continuous cough.

  • You have severe chest pain or headache.

  • You feel sick to your stomach (nauseous) or throw up (vomit).

  • You have shortness of breath with your usual activities. Your heart seems to beat too fast with minimal exercise.

  • You become confused, irritable, or unusually sleepy.

Have someone drive you to the emergency department or call your local emergency services (911 in U.S.). Do not drive yourself. A re-check will determine if hospitalization is necessary.