Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Hydrocarbon Inhalation Overview

What is hydrocarbon inhalation?
A person with hydrocarbon inhalation has inhaled chemicals that are made up of hydrogen and carbon. Most cases of hydrocarbon inhalation are intentional, and are considered a form of chemical abuse. Hydrocarbons cause euphoria, lack of coordination, and lack of inhibition. Hydrocarbon inhalation can cause a form of pneumonia. Hydrocarbons are also toxic to the brain, heart, kidneys and liver.

What are the symptoms of hydrocarbon inhalation?
Common symptoms of hydrocarbon inhalation include cough, breathing difficulty, and wheezing. Some may complain of chest pain that worsens during a deep breath. Other symptoms include nausea, dizziness, fainting, vomiting, confusion, and seizures.

How does the doctor treat hydrocarbon inhalation?
General measures for the treatment of hydrocarbon inhalation include oxygen, rest, cardiac monitoring, intravenous fluids, antibiotics, respiratory therapy, and bronchodilators to reverse wheezing. Anticonvulsant medications may be required to control seizures.

Continue to Hydrocarbon Inhalation Incidence

Last Updated: Feb 9, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Hydrocarbon Inhalation References
  1. do Pico GA. Toxic gas inhalation. Curr Opin Pulm Med. 1995 Mar;1(2):102-8. Review. [15786599]
  2. Dorevitch S, Forst L, Conroy L, Levy P. Toxic inhalation fatalities of US construction workers, 1990 to 1999. J Occup Environ Med. 2002 Jul;44(7):657-62. [12134529]
  3. Parimon T, Kanne JP, Pierson DJ. Acute inhalation injury with evidence of diffuse bronchiolitis following chlorine gas exposure at a swimming pool. Respir Care. 2004 Mar;49(3):291-4. [14982650]
  4. Prien T, Traber DL. Toxic smoke compounds and inhalation injury--a review. Burns Incl Therm Inj. 1988 Dec;14(6):451-60. Review. [2855039]
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