When in a house filling with smoke is it better to hold your breath so as not to inhale smoke or breath heavily to inhale any oxygen you can?

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When in a house filling with smoke is it better to hold your breath so as not to inhale smoke or breath heavily to inhale any oxygen you can?

In: Biology
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get low and continue breathing. Smoke is hot so it rises and displaces the oxygen in the room lower to the ground

Generally, if there is thick smoke, you should hold your breath or take shallow breaths as to avoid inhaling excessive smoke.

Standard procedure is to crawl as low to the ground as possible, as smoke rises & you’ll be inhaling the least amount of smoke at this level.

Passing out from smoke inhalation happens *really* fast, so you should avoid inhaling it at all cost. How to escape kind of depends on the situation, but I’m gonna assume you can’t just run outside in 5 seconds. So ideally you should get low on the ground (because rising heat carries smoke particles with them) and crawl outside.

Avoid breathing it as much as possible. Many deaths post-fire rescue come from smoke inhalation where the smoke causes scarring on the breathing pathway and lungs. This can cause the passage way to close which is why we intubate (jam a tune in there) to keep it open when you see signs of inflammation.

Even if you think you are fine after getting out of a fire, it is important to have your airway checked and this is a reason you see rescuers keeping the victims hanging around or taking people who look fine to the hospital.

Everything’s all “thumbs up” and next thing you know, you’re carting someone off to go get crike’d, because someone was too dumb or busy to check an airway and intubate. A cricothyrotomy is there you cut the front of the throat open to put a breathing tube when the air passage has been obstructed.

Movies love it because it is dramatic. Before anyone gets excited, there are vital blood vessels near enough that can make it dangerous without experience.

The other thing to think about beyond O2 are the byproducts of combustion – things like carbon monoxide and hydrogen cyanide. Also, the resultant byproducts depend on what is burning, but so much stuff is plastic based these days.

Also, fire uses O2 as part of the chemical reaction, so O2 levels may be low and cause associated symptoms.