The Poison Control Center

Inhalation Exposures

The Poison Control Center handles hundreds of calls each year about inhalation exposures. Surprisingly, most of the exposures to toxic fumes occur in the home.

Improper mixing of household substances or chemicals, prolonged use of strong cleaning products or malfunctioning household appliances can result in exposure to potentially hazardous fumes. Toxic fumes may irritate the lungs or may affect the heart and the nervous system.

When to seek immediate medical attention

Treatment for inhalation exposures

  1. Ventilate the area. Open the windows and turn on the fan.
  2. Leave the area and get fresh air. Fresh air may resolve many uncomfortable symptoms.
  3. Treat the symptoms that are not alleviated by the fresh air:

Prevention of inhalation exposures

More information

For details about specific poisons that can be inhaled, see household cleaners and carbon monoxide and freon gas.


Reviewed by: The Poison Control Center
Date: October 2013

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