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Smoke inhalation isn't the only type of burn injury that kills

When many people hear the terminology "burn injuries," they seldom think about smoke inhalation. They should, though. According to the Burn Institute, at least 50 percent of those who die from fire-related injuries are killed by smoke inhalation.

What is it?

When a fire occurs, gases and smoke particles are released into the air. As we breathe those in, our airway and lungs become inflamed. Inflammation turns into swelling. If they become too swollen, then our oxygen supply essentially gets cut off. Acute respiratory distress initially sets in, which soon becomes an all-out failure.

When is it most apt to occur?

Individuals who are most apt to suffer smoke inhalation injuries are those who find themselves in close proximity to where the fire originated. Most blazes start in the kitchen, near a fireplace or malfunctioning electrical outlet close to where a space heater tipped over or where someone was smoking. The closer someone is to where the fire got underway, the more likely they are to become trapped by it.

How do I know if I've suffered smoke inhalation?

Some of the earliest signs that someone has breathed in toxic gases or smoke are coughing, headache, shortness of breath, hoarseness and eye irritation.

In more severe cases, a victim's oxygen levels may decrease so much that they become confused, have seizures, lose consciousness or become comatose. An individual's skin may turn blue or pale as an individual's oxygen level decreases. It may turn bright red once full fledge carbon monoxide poisoning has set in.

What's the prognosis like for smoke inhalation patients?

An Augusta patient's ability to recover from smoke inhalation greatly depends on the type and amount of smoke that they were exposed to.

Individuals with minimal smoke inhalation may respond well to being administered oxygen or being given medication to help reduce the swelling in their lungs. Those with carbon monoxide poisoning may be given large amounts of oxygen in a hyperbaric oxygenation (HBO) compression chamber.

Georgia burn injuries are preventable. They often result from someone else's negligence such as in a work or car accident, defective products or lack of supervision over children. Burns and smoke inhalation can leave you with significant pain and a long recovery ahead of you. An attorney with experience in burn cases can help you get the compensation that you deserve for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering and more.

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