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Chemical Pneumonia (cont.)

When to Seek Medical Care

Should any of the signs or symptoms occur, call a doctor or the local poison control center (call 1-800-222-1222 from anywhere in the United States and they will direct you to the nearest poison center). Any person with serious signs or symptoms should be transported immediately by ambulance to the nearest hospital's emergency department capable of managing someone with chemical pneumonia.

Chemical identification is helpful both for the poison control center and the doctor. All people, those with few, if any symptoms, and those with grave symptoms should have the chemical they were exposed to identified as soon as possible. This should not take precedence over medical care, however, especially for those with severe signs or symptoms.

Immediate evaluation in a hospital's emergency department is necessary for treating the following conditions:

  • Unconsciousness
  • Cyanosis - a blue discoloration of the mouth or skin
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Sudden change of voice
  • Mouth or throat swelling
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Cough productive of frothy or bloody spit
  • Altered thinking and reasoning skills
  • Exposure to potentially deadly chemical
  • Vomiting and aspiration

The poison control center may suggest other conditions the patient may have particular to the chemical that nececitate emergency care.

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