It’s every homeowner’s worst nightmare: watching flames and smoke consume your beloved home. And once the fire has been extinguished, emotional turmoil may not be the only health hazard you face. Lingering smoke damage can jeopardize your health.
Smoke is composed of gasses and small particles created by burning organic materials. These tiny particles can deeply penetrate your lungs, causing a variety of health problems. Young children and seniors are particularly vulnerable to these risks.
To keep your loved ones safe, it’s essential to understand the potential health risks associated with smoke and fire damage.
Continue reading to learn more.
Individuals Most at Risk
After a fire, it’s crucial to closely monitor reports of local air quality. This is especially true if you or a loved one in the household is:
- A person with diabetes
- A young child or older adult
- A pregnant woman
- An individual with lung or heart issues, including asthma, emphysema, or heart failure
These people are the most susceptible to the following five smoke-related health problems.
1. Respiratory Problems
Even after a fire has been put out, smoke and soot can impact your health. In fact, smoke inhalation is one of the top risks after a fire. That’s because smoke can move between walls or through ducts, impacting every inch of your home. If inhaled, smoke can irritate your lungs, leading to a variety of respiratory issues.
If you or anyone else in your home is experiencing shortness of breath, chest tightness, or wheezing after a fire, contact your doctor right away.
2. Skin and Eye Irritation
Smoke and soot damage can cause eye and skin irritation. You may have itchy, red, or watery eyes. Or, you could develop rashes or blisters.
After a fire, avoid touching any furniture or fabrics that were in the home while it was burning. If you start to notice any irritation, immediately wash the smoke residue with cold, clean water.
3. Chronic Breathing Conditions
Chemicals and toxins from burning fabrics, plastics, and wood can remain in the air for weeks, leading to chronic breathing problems, like bronchitis.
Symptoms of bronchitis include coughing, chest pain, wheezing, and excessive mucus. If you develop bronchitis, contact your doctor right away. They will prescribe antibiotics to help fight the infection.
If you were diagnosed with any chronic illnesses before the fire, make an appointment with your doctor. Soot and smoke can exacerbate the symptoms of your pre-existing condition.
4. Internal Infections
In worst-case scenarios, soot and smoke might cause internal organ infections, including kidney or bladder infections. This is most common in people with pre-existing health conditions, including HIV and diabetes.
If you experience fever, severe abdominal pain, rapid weight loss, black urine, or difficulty urinating, seek immediate medical attention.
5. Contaminated Foods
If the fire reached your kitchen, products in your pantry could have become contaminated. These include any food in jars, cans, boxes, or bags.
After a fire, clear out your pantry entirely and purchase fresh, safe food.
How to Protect Yourself
If your home suffered a fire, it’s important to protect yourself and your loved ones. Some safety tips to follow include:
- Proactively prepare for wildfire season.
- If you experience any unusual symptoms after a fire, contact your doctor.
- To minimize indoor air pollution, have a several-day supply of nonperishable foods that you don’t have to cook.
- Invest in air cleaners
- Hire a fire damage restoration company, like Save the Day Restoration.
Save the Day Restoration Will Keep You Safe
Save the Day Restoration offers superior fire and smoke damage cleanup services. After a thorough inspection and assessment of your home, we will quickly get to work removing any smoke and soot. We’ll also remove any ashy odors, clean and sanitize your space, and perform an air quality test.
If you need fire or smoke damage restoration services, contact us today. We offer 24/7 emergency services. Call (562) 303-5583 now. Help is standing by.