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Jef Burk
Jef Burk, Doctor
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 2639
Experience:  MBBS. I've been teaching,practicing and learning since 1985.
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Repeat question: I have Emphysema. Wearing paper mask while

Customer Question

Repeat question: I have Emphysema. Wearing paper mask while working in barn. I smelled smoke so took a second breath to confirm it was smoke. The smoke smelled very strong. Immediately left barn and discovered house next door (500 ft) engulfed in flames. Thick cloud of brown smoke sitting right on top of me. I jumped in truck putting on a dual chamber respirator-then I drove out of the smoke. Smoke never watered eyes-made me cough-or seemed to effect me at all. After fire burned down I went back to work in barn. I didn't seem to smell smoke in the barn. At end of day walked outside and stench of smoke was very strong. At time I didn't feel like I had inhaled much smoke. But the next day I was short of breath and have remained that way for 3 weeks. Does the amount of exposure I've described seem enough to worsen a persons emphysema, or to cause pulmonary fibrosis? Could I be inflamed and expect breathing to return to normal without new damage?
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  Jef Burk replied 7 years ago.


For sure smoke inhaltion can cause repiratory symptoms - wheezing , shortness of breath and inflammtion of the lung tissue itself.

If you have pre-existing lung disease then it can also exacerbate any pre-existing symptoms for a period of time.

What it will not do is cause chroninc lung disease - such as emphysema or pulmonary fibrosis.

Dr Jef

Please get back to me on this if you need to talk some more.

Jef Burk and other Medical Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I accept answer--but could you please elaborate just a little. Would smoke inhalation described be likely to worsen my Emphysema permanently, or would I be more likely to expect returning to same level I was prior to the exacerbation?
Expert:  Jef Burk replied 7 years ago.


No any intensification of your symptoms brought on by your smoke inhalation should get back to your pre-exposure levels - your emphysema should not permanently deteriorate because of this.

Emphysema , as you will be aware , gets worse as time passes.

Dr jef