According to the Burn Institute, well over half of individuals involved in a fire die from the effects of smoke inhalation, not burns from the fire itself. Smoke inhalation must always be treated with extreme caution. Any individual who has inhaled more than just a wisp of smoke needs medical attention regardless of whether or not they are outwardly exhibiting symptoms of smoke inhalation. Symptoms of smoke inhalation include coughing, difficulty breathing, singed nostril hairs, headache, confusion, chest pain, and soot in the nose or throat. Soot deep in the throat is a potentially severe sign, though it may not be visible to a layperson. Only licensed medical professionals are qualified to determine if a smoke inhalation victim needs treatment or not. This article will discuss some methods used to treat smoke inhalation.
If a potential smoke inhalation victim isn't breathing, they will need CPR until emergency help arrives. First, call 911, and then put the individual on a firm surface. Next, clear the person's airway of any debris and push their chin upwards. The next step is chest compressions, which start by the individual placing one hand on top of the other and push hard on the victim's chest between their nipples. Aim for one hundred or so compressions a minute. After the first thirty compressions, stop long enough to administer two rescue breaths. Pinch the victim's nostrils shut and use your lips to form a seal around the victim's mouth. Breathe deeply into their mouth two times. The chest should visibly rise with each breath. Resume compressions, once again giving thirty, then perform two rescue breaths again. Continue in a cycle until the individual begins breathing on their own or until paramedics arrive. These directions are a general guide, so only use them in emergencies. Better yet, take a CPR course designed to give certification in the proper way of performing CPR.
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