St. Louis Smoke Inhalation Attorney
Smoke inhalation can be a devastating injury. Injury can occur by multiple mechanisms. Thermal damage, or damage from the heat of the smoke, can cause tissue burns inside the mouth and nose. Asphyxiation, or lack of oxygen, occurs most often due to inhalation of carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide will bind to the blood better than oxygen and it does not like to let go; this decreases the amount of oxygen being carried in the blood. Finally, pulmonary irritation due to the irritants inhaled with the smoke that can cause the airways to constrict and swell.
The most common cause for smoke inhalation is fire, which can include explosions and auto accidents.
Symptoms and Treatment of Smoke Inhalation
The symptoms of smoke inhalation can be subtle, such as singed nasal hairs or soot within the nose and/or mouth and throat, or as severe as respiratory distress requiring intubation, or placement of a breathing tube. Almost everyone will be coughing and possibly wheezing after smoke inhalation. Other symptoms that may be noticed include difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, sore throat, a change in your voice or hoarseness, and an increased breathing rate. You may also have associated facial and body burns depending on your proximity to the fire.
Treatment will include oxygen and intubation, or a breathing tube, if necessary. Smoke inhalation can cause rapid dehydration so IV fluids will be necessary. If wheezing or having difficulty breathing a medication called a bronchodilator, such as albuterol which is given in an inhaler or through a breathing machine called a nebulizer, may be given. If there is concern about carbon monoxide poisoning, your doctor may also recommend using a hyperbaric oxygen chamber which delivers very pure oxygen to help displace the carbon monoxide from your blood.
With isolated smoke inhalation, the majority of individuals have a complete recovery with mortality being less than 10%. Possible complications include pneumonia, or lung infection, or narrowing of the airway due to scar tissue.
Accomplished Attorneys You Can
Have you suffered smoke inhalation after a car accident? Our St. Louis injury lawyers will help you recover compensation you need to rebuild your life after a serious injury. We stand ready to help you during this difficult time. To arrange a free consultation, call us at (314) 322-8515 today.