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Inhaled rubber fumes. Feeling lethargic, fatigue and started sweating. Looking for relief

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2009
Answered : 8985 Questions
I am 44, 5'2'' and 160lbs and female. About a month ago I took part in an emergency rescue exercise and was exposed to burning tires for approximately 45 minutes. I most definitely inhaled some of the fumes at fairly close quarters. I have recently been feeling lethargic, and although I exercise 2 to 3 times a week (swimming and aerobics), sometimes it is a great effort to do so. I have days like today where my throat is tender (glands slightly raised) and I am sweaty and fatigued. This is unlike previous fatigue symptoms I had because in that case I would not have even been able to exercise or go out on many occasions.
Posted Thu, 21 Mar 2013 in Environmental and Occupational Hazards
Answered by Dr. Shoaib Khan 25 minutes later
Hello and welcome to XXXXXXX

Thank you for writing to us.

I have gone through your query in detail. Let us discuss all the aspects of your query.

Firstly, rubber fumes are considered to be carcinogenic (agents that can cause cancer), but only from long-term exposure (this usually requires 10-20 years of daily exposure). So, be assured that this cannot happen for you. The exposure to burning tyre fumes can only result in a temporary reduction of lung capacity, which is corrected over time.

Second, fumes from a burning substance can cause corrosive injury of your respiratory system. This can result in the narrowing of the respiratory passage of injury mostly to the upper respiratory tract (which includes the glands you have mentioned, that are slightly raised). This will surely require immediate evaluation by a doctor to establish/rule out any injury that could have been caused.

Third, your symptoms of fatigue, reduced energy levels, sweating; could all also be associated with only your throat. Infection of the throat which could result in inflammation. This usually requires treatment with antibiotic therapy. But, as mentioned earlier, we can only diagnose this condition/rule it out, after a physical examination by a doctor.

So to rule out the worst and make a diagnosis of the condition causing your presentation, I request you to please visit a doctor. I hope this information helps. Do write back to me for further clarifications or injury.

Best wishes.
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