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Experienced severe sore throat and breathing difficulty after mask slipping. Feeling abdominal pain. Reaction to chemical?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2011
Answered : 291 Questions
Hi Dr.,
Last night I was refinishing a coffee table with a friend and I hadn't realized my mask had slipped off. I was using a lot of polyurothane and before I was even done I started having respiratory issues, including severe sore throat and some difficulty breathing. I left the area and was feeling a lot better when I went to bed, but I woke up feeling sore all over, abdominal pain, and a sore throat. Do you think this is a reaction to the chemical? Should I be worried enough to go to urgent care>
Posted Sun, 11 Aug 2013 in Environmental and Occupational Hazards
Answered by Dr. Hari Om Chandrakar 1 hour later
Hello XXXXX,

I would like to address this issue elaborately.

Polyurethane is a chemically inert substance, but if its oil based, then its fumes can enter your lungs and can start allergic reaction in your body. The chances of allergy increases if you have any allergic reaction earlier with that paint.

The allergic reactions present in various ways in different individuals depending upon the amount of allergens you are exposed and any history of similar events in the past like it may present as sore throat, coughing,breathlessness, choking sensation, red patches all over body, abdominal cramping etc. Such reactions generally subside as the time passes. In your case another symptom was added to the existing ones so it is not right to wait anymore.

You are also advised to consult to nearby General Physician to have your throat and chest examined, to rule out any other causes of sore throat like viral flu, or some bacterial infection. I feel you do not need an Emergency examination if PCP consult is just a day away or on the same day.

However you require urgent medical care if you feel breathlessness and choking sensation.

Hope this information helped you. Let me know if you need clarifications.

Dr Hari Om Chandrakar
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Experienced severe sore throat and breathing difficulty after mask slipping. Feeling abdominal pain. Reaction to chemical? 3 hours later
Hi Dr,

Thank you for your advice. I am feeling much better now. Is this a relatively normal reaction or an allergic reaction?
Answered by Dr. Hari Om Chandrakar 14 minutes later

Thanks for replying back.

Its good that you are feeling fine now, but as far as cause is concerned its hard to find out if it is caused due to allergy or its just normal body response.

I would rather advice you to be alert next time and keep your mask on.

You are also advised to see an alternative of polyurethane, if not possible then you can search for its water soluble formula.

Dr Hari Om Chandrakar
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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