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What To Do

Exposure to poisonous fumes can happen at home or in the workplace. Mixing certain substances can cause an unplanned chemical reaction that releases toxic fumes into the air. Similarly, working with cleaning products for a long time can begin to irritate the lungs. Understand what symptoms to look for as signs of poisoning and when to call to get help to treat an inhaled chemical poisoning.

If someone inhales poisonous fumes:

If someone who has been exposed to a toxic fume is complaining of a headache, nausea, dizziness, or difficulty breathing they may be experiencing poisoning. For chemical inhalation treatment, use these first aid tips:

  1. Open windows and doors, and turn on the fans in the room if possible to ventilate the area.
  2. Leave the area and go outside to get fresh air.
  3. There may be some symptoms that are not treated from fresh air alone. If you or someone else continues to experience:
    • Coughing or chest congestion after fresh air, additional treatment may be needed. The poison center can assist with further advice.
    • Throat irritation, drink a glass of cold water or milk.
    • Eye irritation, flush your eyes with lukewarm water for 5-10 minutes.
  4. Call the Missouri Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222 to talk to a specially trained nurse or pharmacist for more advice.


Poisonous fumes aren’t always detectable by our noses like carbon monoxide (CO), which is odorless, colorless, and tasteless. It’s important to install CO alarms to help keep you and your family safe.

Other Poison Routes

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Take The Missouri Poison Center With You

Emergencies don’t wait for you, so you shouldn’t have to wait to call for help. Get the Missouri Poison Center app with poison information and a link to the Poison Help Line. It is just a click away during the most stressful moments. Our registered nurses and pharmacists are here 24/7/365 days a year to help guide you through poison exposures and overdose emergencies.

Don’t wait. Download now.

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