health risks after house fire

5 Health Risks After House Fire You Should Know

Are you dealing with smoke and soot damage after a house fire? Call Restorerz today at (323) 405-9208.

It’s everyone’s worst nightmare: a house fire endangering you and your loved ones, destroying precious memories and belongings. Burns and emotional distress aren’t the only health hazards related to the smoke and damage of a house fire. 

The environment and aftereffects remain dangerous long after firefighters contain the blaze. Common health risks after house fires include smoke damage, soot and particles, and mold that may quickly grow after water puts out the fire.

Call the experts at Restorerz for fire damage restoration in Los Angeles, and be on the lookout for any residual health risks after the fire. These leftover effects of the fire can take many forms, and they aren’t always easy to spot.

1. Respiratory Issues

Smoke inhalation is the top health risk after a house fire. Smoke travels through ducts and between walls and rooms to create a toxic environment throughout the house. Smoke can irritate your lungs in various ways, resulting in difficulty breathing and asthma attacks. 

Aside from smoke and soot, mold is a lesser-known aftereffect of house fires. Firefighters use water to extinguish the blaze, creating an ideal environment for mold to grow. Mold can exacerbate allergies and lead to respiratory issues.

Sinus infection is another risk from inhaling these and other contaminants. Contact a doctor if you experience any shortness of breath or coughing in the weeks and months after the fire—symptoms can take some time to develop.

Any porous material can harbor poisonous chemicals and other dangers, so you will need help making sure carpets, furniture, wood, and other surfaces are safe. Restoration professionals can remove the residue of smoke and mold from carpets and drywall.

2. Chronic Illnesses and Breathing Issues

You might think that once the fire is out, the air is safe to breathe again, but this is not the case. Toxins and soot particles linger in the air and ducts, so you can breathe them in for weeks after the fire. 

Chemicals from burning plastic, wood, and fabric mix with the smoke and remain in the air, which can have long-term consequences for everyone who breathes it. Your health risks after a house fire include worsened asthma and bronchitis. 

Contact a doctor if you are pregnant, notice shortness of breath or wheezing, or experience any new breathing issues. These symptoms could be related to the aftereffects of the fire in ways you’re not expecting and may not know to look out for.

If you previously suffered from any chronic illness, be sure to visit a doctor—the chemicals and toxins in the air can have an inflammatory and worsening effect.

3. Eye and Skin Irritation

Skin irritation is a common reaction to the common toxins and chemicals present after a fire. Lingering soot and other chemicals can irritate your skin. When you touch your eyes with contaminated hands, you can develop eye irritation, as well. Even mold can be dangerous for your skin and eyes, causing rashes and skin irritation, which you can transfer to your eyes.

Sitting on furniture or wearing clothes that were in the house during the fire is another way to cause skin and eye irritation after a fire. This can have serious consequences, such as: 

  • Inflammation
  • Redness
  • Blisters
  • Itchy, watery eyes

Wash the toxins and smoke residue off your body the very first chance you get. Splash water on your face to cool things down, and make sure to take any burns or irritation seriously and deal with them immediately.

4. Contaminated Foods

Most house fires start in or near the kitchen, so the items in your pantry may be contaminated with harmful toxins after the fire. The danger isn’t just about the toxic smoke and chemicals from the fire: substances firefighters use to put out the fire may linger, making you sick. The chemicals firefighters use are highly toxic and can remain in the home even after the fire has been contained.

The high temperatures of a house fire can spoil canned food or food in jars, and smoke and soot can damage and contaminate food in boxes or bags. Food is more vulnerable to the toxins released when plastic and wood burn.

After a fire, you’re safer and better off throwing out your food and starting fresh. Avoid the potential health risks and consequences of consuming fire-damaged foods. Consider your kitchen stores a total loss; throw it all away, and purchase new food after the fire.

5. Other Long-Term Health Risks

Organ infection is also a danger after house fires—if you have pre-existing conditions like diabetes or HIV infection, you’re more susceptible to aftereffects and illness.

After the fire, schedule a routine checkup with your doctor to identify any issues early. You should call your doctor immediately if you find yourself suffering from intense abdominal pain, rapid weight loss, difficulty urinating, or black or bloody urine.

Keep an eye on any children or infants who may react to the environment in subtle ways—these toxins are dangerous for them, in particular. Smoke inhalation, burns, and other health risks after house fires put you at increased cancer risk, heart attack, and stroke. Exposure to flames during the fire can be just as destructive as smoke inhalation, leading to lung and heart issues. 

Know Your Health Risks After House Fire

We don’t ever want to think about the unthinkable—what happens when we lose our homes or belongings in a house fire? When you’ve had a life-changing event with such large consequences, you need the experts in your corner to help you restore your home.

Restorerz knows that long-term health risks after house fires are just part of the recovery process. With fire damage restoration, we can salvage as much of the flooring, walls, and furniture as possible and replace any parts of your home that are beyond repair. 

How do you know the things that can be salvaged after a fire? Call Restorerz today at (323) 405-9208 for all your damage recovery needs.

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