Inhalation of hair bleach

Patient

Q: I have accidentally inhaled fumes from a hair bleaching kit 2 days ago. Since then I have been coughing, sneezing, alot of mucus, and sore throat, is this something I should worry about?

Doctor

A:   Inhalation of bleach can cause severe internal damage, including deterioration of the esophagus lining and lungs. Scarring of the respiratory tract can also occur. While these effects may not occur with each incidence of inhalation, it is best to consult a doctor if experiencing symptom of coughing and breathing difficulty.
Your doctor may advise a blood gas, CT scan of the chest, lung function tests and x-ray of the chest to determine how severely the lungs are effected. Treatment is focused on reducing symptoms. Oxygen therapy may be helpful. Corticosteroids can be given to reduce inflammation. Antibiotics are usually not helpful or needed.

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