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Treat Inhaled Poison

Important Information

If you inhale carbon monoxide or other harmful substances, you may experience headache, dizziness, nausea and chest tightness


You may cough, wheeze and have difficulty breathing; The skin may become pale, then bluish with cherry-red appearance on nail beds and lips


Treat any suspected ingested or inhaled poison, or any poisoning that alters the patient's breathing or conscious level, as a medical emergency; Follow primary care procedures


Patient Care; Inhaled Poison

  • STOP - Assess and observe the scene; Is there a poisonous substance or fumes nearby? Be very cautious of entering enclosed spaces; Note: Poisonous gases are odorless and colorless; Emergency Responder safety must be considered always; It may be necessary to wait for EMS to arrive with independent breathing equipment

  • THINK - Consider your safety and form action plan; Can the substance harm me?

  • ACT - Check responsiveness and Alert EMS


  • If necessary, move the patient to an area with fresh air; Perform a primary and secondary assessment and monitor the patient's Cycle of Care AB-CABS

  • For a responsive patient, help to loosen clothing around the neck and chest for easier breathing; Conduct an illness assessment and gather information about what, when and how much poison was inhaled while waiting for EMS to arrive

  • If available, read the label on the substance for poisoning instructions and call the Poison Control Center for further directions

  • If available and permitted to do so, administer emergency oxygen and continue to support the patient until EMS arrives