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Health Problems Caused by Smoke and Soot

It might surprise most people to know that the majority of residential fire deaths are as a result of smoke inhalation rather than burns. However, there are other dangers associated with the smoke and soot left behind in the wake home fires. Soot and smoke inhalation causes problems from asphyxiation to many other health related conditions. This is why expert smoke repair is so critical after any major fire. Here are some other health risks that soot and smoke damage can cause to you and your loved ones.

  • Skin irritation: Smoke residue often contains harmful chemicals that can directly deposit themselves on to your skin. This can irritate and damage your skin. Sometimes, these conditions can be as serious as to require medical attention.
  • Respiratory issues: There are many substances around the average home that when ignited into smoke can cause direct injury to the lungs and mucous membranes. Some of these substances include chlorine, ammonia, hydrogen chloride, etc. Soot, another danger left a fire, can contain chemicals such as formaldehyde, toluene, sulfur dioxide and traces of heavy metals. These substances can cause swelling in the respiratory tract and even cause the airway to collapse.
  • Eye Irritation and damage: According to Robert N. Weinreb MD, Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of California San Diego and clinical correspondent for the American Academy of Ophthalmology, smoke can not only irritate one’s eyes, it can also leave ash and dust in them that can irritate them for days.

Smoke Inhalation Symptoms and When to Seek Help

Symptoms of smoke and soot inhalation include coughing, shortness of breath, hoarseness or noisy breathing, headaches and changes in mental status. The last two symptoms –headaches and changes in mental status – should be of particular concern as they can lead to even more health problems. You should seek medical attention should any of these symptoms linger or worsen.soot

As you can see, fire brings with it many dangers beyond that of flame and heat. The water that is used to extinguish fires can damage your possessions and property and result in the formation of mold. If this is the case, we can do a mold inspection and rid your home of this health risk as well. We can also mitigate the smoke and soot damage left behind by fire just as easily. So, don’t take chances with your family’s health.

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