Chemical Inhalation

You have been exposed to chemical fumes. This may cause symptoms of cough, shortness of breath, eye, nose, and throat irritation, and upper chest pain. It may also cause nausea, headache, and dizziness. The treatment is to breathe fresh air. Symptoms should go away completely within 24 hours. If lung damage has occurred, you may need more treatment.

Home care

  • Breathe fresh air for the next few hours. Stay out of closed spaces with poor air flow.

  • Don't use any cleaning products, paints, mineral spirits, or other volatile chemicals. Stay away from areas where these things are being used.

  • Rest until you are feeling back to normal again. This may take up to 24 hours.

  • During the next 24 hours, don't smoke cigarettes. Also stay away from others who are smoking.

  • If this exposure occurred at work, contact your employer to make sure that work conditions are safe to return to. Correct safety equipment should be used at all times.

Follow-up care

Follow up with your healthcare provider, or as advised.

When to seek medical advice

Call your healthcare provider right away if any of these occur:

  • Headache, dizziness, or fainting

  • Confusion, drowsiness, or seizures

  • Cough with lots of mucus (sputum)

  • Fever of 100.4º F (38ºC) or higher, or as directed by your provider

Call 911

Call 911 if either of these occur:

  • Shortness of breath or wheezing gets worse

  • Chest pain gets worse

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