Skip to Content
Home > Wellness > Health Library > Breathing Smoke or Fumes
It is common to cough for a few minutes after breathing in smoke or
fumes from a fire. Your breathing should return to normal within a short period
of time, about 30 minutes. If your breathing does not return to normal or if your
breathing is getting worse instead of improving, it is important to think about
whether you are having breathing difficulties because of smoke
Smoke inhalation may occur in any fire. It is more likely to occur if
Symptoms of smoke inhalation include:
More serious smoke inhalation causes swelling (edema) in the air
passages. This swelling can also hurt the vocal cords, making it hard for the
person to talk.
Carbon monoxide poisoning is a serious concern with
smoke inhalation injuries.
If smoke inhalation causes serious symptoms, or if you have any
high-risk conditions such as asthma or chronic lung disease, evaluation by a
doctor is needed.
December 27, 2012
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
To learn more visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2013 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.
Genesis HealthCare System | 1-800-322-4762