Symptoms and Signs of Chemical Pneumonia

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Medically Reviewed on 9/10/2021

Doctor's Notes on Chemical Pneumonia

Chemical pneumonia is inflammation of lung tissue from exposure to poisons and/or toxins. Signs and symptoms of chemical pneumonia include one or more the following: burning of the nose eyes, lips, mouth and/or throat, dry cough, wet cough producing clear, yellow, or green mucus, producing blood and/or frothy pick material in saliva, nausea and/or abdominal pain, chest pain, shortness of breath, painful breeding, headache, flu-like symptoms, weakness, and delirium. Other possible signs and symptoms include rapid breathing, rapid pulse, skin burns, pale or cyanotic skin and/or lips, heavy sweating, unconsciousness, swelling of the eyes or tongue, hoarse voice, chemical odors, and fever. Some individuals die from these exposures.

What Are the Treatments for Chemical Pneumonia?

Chemical pneumonias may be treated by many methods, depending on the chemical type and the severity of symptoms. The following are some of the potential treatments:

  • Immediately remove yourself and others from the chemical and the area close to the chemical.
  • Call 911 and poison control.
  • If safely possible, identify and contain the chemical.
  • Observe for any symptoms (coughing, short of breath, for example).
  • Note that some symptoms may slowly develop over hours.
  • IV fluids
  • Oxygen by nasal cannula or face mask
  • Medical treatment to open airways (like albuterol)
  • Steroids by mouth and/or by IV
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Pain medications
  • Antibiotics (some patients)
  • Mechanical assisted breathing (ventilator)

Do I Have Pneumonia? Symptoms & Signs Quiz

Pneumonia Quiz

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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.