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Breathed bleach fumes. Eyes are watery and had difficulty in breathing. Ears are burned. Tightness in chess with bronchitis. Suggest cure?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2009
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8 days ago I breathed in too many bleach fumes. My eyes watered and I had difficulty breathing for a few minutes. My ears burned a bit. After removing myself, I was fine and had no symptoms. Now I have what appears to be the common cold with a light sore throat and a cough. Chest feels tight like it does with bronchitis or flu before the mucus breaks up. I'm wondering if I am just sick or if I am having a delayed reaction to bleach?
Posted Tue, 12 Nov 2013 in Medicines and Side Effects
Answered by Dr. Shoaib Khan 47 minutes later
Brief Answer:
Symptoms seem mild; and reaction to the fumes

Detailed Answer:
Hello sir and welcome.

Thank you for writing in.

First of all, I would like to ask you if you have a fever? Or sputum/phlegm along with the cough? Any blood in saliva or sputum? Based on this I will be able to tell you whether or not you have bronchitis or this is a reaction.

The inhalation of bleach fumes is considered an emergency, but can particularly be XXXXXXX when the bleach is mixed with ammonia. As for the inhaled variant of poisoning, the first thing to do after exposure is to go out in the open and breathe in fresh air in order to neutralize the effect of the fumes. I hope you did this.

The next thing is to report to the ER and check if these fumes have caused a burn inside your respiratory tract, and also to be administered pure oxygen. But it does seem like you are not exhibiting any serious symptoms, although your symptoms are present and are mild.

The best thing to do now is to either report to a doctor or poison control specialist or try drinking as much water and breathing in as much fresh air as possible. Complete recovery depends on how early the chemicals are washed out from the system.

I hope you found my response both helpful and informative. Please feel free to write back to me for any further clarifications, I would be more than happy to help.

Best wishes.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Breathed bleach fumes. Eyes are watery and had difficulty in breathing. Ears are burned. Tightness in chess with bronchitis. Suggest cure? 3 minutes later
I did go outside to breathe and also ventilated the area. It was about 10 days ago and 8 days ago since I started exhibiting cold like symptoms.

I have been drinking water (about 100 ounces a day)

So far not coughing up any phlegm and no blood at all. I had a sore throat yesterday but it is mostly gone except for some itching and a bit of tightness in the neck.

All symptoms that I usually experience with the common cold, so not sure if I need to be worried.
Oh, also I have no fever and have not had once since the bleach incident. I have been light headed off and on since yesterday and thought maybe it was due to a cold, since exposure to the bleach was over a week ago.
Answered by Dr. Shoaib Khan 6 minutes later
Brief Answer:
No need to worry; on the road to improvement

Detailed Answer:
Hello once again ma'am.

It seems as though these are symptoms of the reaction to the inhalation, which is slowly subsiding. No fever either, which is good. But individuals with pre-existing respiratory conditions do experience a flare when exposed to inhalation toxins, but this should also subside as and when the toxin/chemical is cleared from the system.

Based on the information provided, I do not think you need to worry. I feel all your symptoms should subside in a few days. Please continue breathing in fresh air and drink plenty of water. If your symptoms last for more than 5-7 days, then please write back to me ma'am. Also, if your general condition worsens (god forbid), please keep me informed. But I see an improvement, and think you should be fine in no time.

I hope this clears your query ma'am. Please feel free to write back to me for any further clarifications, and do keep me updated. Wishing you a speedy recovery.

God bless.
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