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Can a motor vehicle accident cause an asthma attack?

On Behalf of | Jul 23, 2022 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

Few medical emergencies are more frightening than not being able to breathe freely. As an asthma sufferer, you are far from alone, though. In fact, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America estimates that one out of every 13 Americans has asthma. Most of these individuals know what triggers their attacks.

Every time you leave home, it is advisable to take your rescue inhaler with you. If you have a car accident, you are likely to be thankful for it. After all, a motor vehicle accident can trigger a potentially deadly asthma attack.

Acute stress

Because stress is a common trigger for asthma attacks, many asthma sufferers recognize the importance of keeping stress under control. Car accidents are inherently stressful events, however. Even if you try to stay calm, you may feel a tightening in your chest during or immediately after an accident.

Sodium hydroxide

The chemicals airbags emit when they deploy generally are not toxic to drivers and passengers. Still, sodium hydroxide, which may be present in airbag dust, can cause bronchoconstriction. If you are in an accident that involves airbag deployment, your asthma symptoms may worsen for up to 48 hours.

Smoke and other accident byproducts

If an accident causes your car to burst into flames, you should stay as far away from the smoke as possible. The same is true for leaking fluids and other accident byproducts, as they can be highly irritating to the lungs.

Even though your rescue inhaler may provide some immediate relief, it is advisable to take a trip to the emergency room. Ultimately, the doctors there have the knowledge and equipment to treat asthma attacks effectively.