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What causes nausea after exposure to paint thinner fumes?

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Posted on Mon, 1 Jun 2015
Question: My husband used paint thinners yesterday to clean pair brushes. The area was not ventilated enough and he started to become nauseous and throwing up all evening. What would you suggest I do? Is it likely to pass?
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Answered by Dr. Erion Spaho (52 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
Medical evaluation needed.

Detailed Answer:
Hi and thanks for using HCM.

I have read your question and understand your concerns.

Accidental exposure to paint thinner fumes ( most probably Toluene) can cause two main damages:
1. Lung problems from irritating them
2. Neurological problems ( including nausea and vomiting).

Degree of damage caused by Toluene fumes depends on its concentration on inspired air.

Immediate measures to Toluene fumes exposure is good ventilation of the patient ( fresh air).

In my opinion, there is need for a medical evaluation of your husband's status, and arterial blood gas analysis in order to correctly evaluate the intoxication degree.

In mild cases, the condition improves within few days only by rest, good rehidration and room ventilation with fresh air.

Hope this helps. I remain at your disposal for further questions or clarifications.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Vinay Bhardwaj
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Answered by
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Dr. Erion Spaho

Neurologist, Surgical

Practicing since :2004

Answered : 4231 Questions

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What causes nausea after exposure to paint thinner fumes?

Brief Answer: Medical evaluation needed. Detailed Answer: Hi and thanks for using HCM. I have read your question and understand your concerns. Accidental exposure to paint thinner fumes ( most probably Toluene) can cause two main damages: 1. Lung problems from irritating them 2. Neurological problems ( including nausea and vomiting). Degree of damage caused by Toluene fumes depends on its concentration on inspired air. Immediate measures to Toluene fumes exposure is good ventilation of the patient ( fresh air). In my opinion, there is need for a medical evaluation of your husband's status, and arterial blood gas analysis in order to correctly evaluate the intoxication degree. In mild cases, the condition improves within few days only by rest, good rehidration and room ventilation with fresh air. Hope this helps. I remain at your disposal for further questions or clarifications.