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Signs and symptoms of chemical pneumonia
Pneumonia is a lung inflammation, usually caused by viruses, bacteria or fungi. An unusual type of pneumonia is the one caused by chemicals.
Small particles, liquids, gases and dust inhalation can lead to a chemical pneumonia. Some of these chemicals affect not only the lungs; they can also cause multi-organ damage.
Another form of chemical pneumonia is aspiration pneumonia. Aspiration pneumonia refers to the problem of mouth contents entering the airways instead of going into the stomach. This can lead to an infection of the lungs, fever and breathing problems, even a bacterial pneumonia. Generally, a person who has a malfunctioning swallowing mechanism, who does not posses a good cough reflex, could develop aspiration pneumonia. You can also get pneumonia if you breathe in when vomiting.
The seriousness of chemical pneumonia is determined by many factors. One that inhales chlorine from a large outdoor pool will not have the same symptoms with the one that inhales chlorine from a small room.
The signs and symptoms vary with the time someone was exposed to the substance, the place (indoor or outdoor), type and strength of the substance (gas, vapor, particles, and liquid), the age of the exposed person, and the immediate health care measures applied.
Signs and symptoms of chemical pneumonia are: dry or wet cough (with bloody or yellowish sputum), the sensation of burning eyes, nose, mouth or throat; chest pain, nausea, difficulty in breathing, the change of voice, headaches, and disorientation.
When going to the doctor it might observe skin or nose burns, swelling eyes and tongue, blue or pale lips, rapid pulse, rapid breaths, fever, chemical odors, all depending of what type of chemical substance has affected you.
A person that has chemical pneumonia must be quickly transported to the hospital. Knowing what substance produced the pneumonia will help the doctors cure the patient.
You must go immediately to the doctor that is capable of treating someone with chemical pneumonia if you see and feel any of these symptoms: blue mouth and skin, nausea, vomiting, breathing problems, fatigue, chest pains, cough with bloody sputum, sudden chance of voice, unconsciousness.
To prevent chemical pneumonia people should use protective measures, and in case of an exposure to potentially deadly chemical substances, they should seek help at the hospital or at the poison control center. You should avoid fumes in closed spaces, open windows when cleaning with chemicals, and wear a mask and protective clothing when you use chemicals.
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