CHECK FOR INHALATION INJURY
Inhaling heated air can damage the respiratory system. Check for respiratory
distress and maintain an open airway, if needed. Continue to monitor the casualty's
respirations closely since 30 to 40 minutes may elapse before edema obstructs the
airway and causes respiratory distress. Signs of inhalation injury include the following.
a. Facial burns.
b. Singed eyebrows, singed eyelashes, and/or singed nasal hairs.
c. Carbon deposits and/or redness in the mouth or throat.
d. Sputum containing sooty carbon.
e. Hoarseness, noisy inhalation, or brassy sounding cough.
f. Difficulty in breathing (dyspnea).
CHECK FOR CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING
If the casualty was inside a burning building or other closed structure, he may
have carbon monoxide poisoning. Signs and symptoms of carbon monoxide
poisoning include the following.
Carbon monoxide (CO) is formed when materials burn without sufficient
oxygen being present. When carbon monoxide is inhaled, some red blood
cells bond with the carbon monoxide instead of oxygen (O2). This results in
a decrease of oxygen in the blood system since the body cannot use carbon
dioxide like it does oxygen. A casualty suffering from carbon should be
given oxygen if it is available.]
a. Dizziness and/or headache.
c. Cherry-red colored skin and mucous membranes (check the lining inside the
casualty's lips). This is a late sign.
d. Rapid pulse (tachycardia).
e. Rapid breathing (tachypnea).
f. Respiratory distress, including possible respiratory arrest.