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Dr. Andrew Rynne

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What causes breathlessness while using varnish in a closed area?

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Dr. Mahaveer Patil

Orthopaedic Surgeon

Practicing since :2002

Answered : 1209 Questions

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Posted on Tue, 21 Aug 2018 in Accident and Emergency
Question: Was using varnish (oil based lacquer) for about 40 minutes in fairly closed in area. When I finished, I began to have wheezing and shortness of breath. no headache, no dizzy, just struggle to breathe. Hard part lasted about 20 minutes. I spit up flem a few times. Felt better.

Big wheezing is gone. But still slight shortness of breath (5 hours later). I am calm but concerned. Will this go away soon and back to normal? Or do I need go to ER or seek care?
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Answered by Dr. Mahaveer Patil 21 minutes later
Brief Answer:
you are already recovering.

Detailed Answer:

Hello and Welcome to ‘Ask A Doctor’ service. I have reviewed your query and here is my advice.

I have gone through your medical history in detail.

If after 5 hours of exposure to varnish,the wheezing has completely gone and just some amount of shortness of breath is remaining,then I think it is a good sign.
It indicates that you are recovering.

Allergic reaction of your respiratory system to the varnish has caused these symptoms.These signs usually remain for about 6-8 hours after the exposure and go off spontaneously.

I would suggest you to be in fresh moving air as far as possible.Deep breathing exercises will help immensely.

Drink plenty of water and fruit juices.

If you have no dizziness,headache or weakness,I think you should not worry.

If any of these symptoms re-appear again,you should consult ER immediately.

Hope I have answered your query.

Take care

Dr. Mahaveer Patil , Orthopaedic Surgeon
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Kampana
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