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HomeAnswersGeneral Medicinesteam inhalationShortness of breath and chest pain after breathing in steam. Why?

What causes breathing difficulties after inhaling steam?

The following is an actual conversation between an iCliniq user and a doctor that has been reviewed and published as a Premium Q&A.

Medically reviewed by

iCliniq medical review team

Published At August 13, 2018
Reviewed AtMay 7, 2024

Patient's Query

Hello doctor,

I am a 26 year old male weighing in 185 Ibs and 5'9". I do not take any medications. I am worried if I am at risk of any complications after having breathed in some steam/air at about 350 F. I was covering a pot roast I had just taken out of the oven when I accidentally took a breath of its steam when I was directly overhead. After it happened, moments later I had shortness of breath and had pain on the left side of my chest. This happened six hours ago. Since then, I have slept and my breathing is normal. There is only a dull lingering pain on the left side of my chest now. I have no cough, my breathing remains steady when I lie down. I do not get dizzy either.


Welcome to icliniq.com.

Based on the history, at times, though not very common, steam/air inhalation can cause inflammation of the airway leading to respiratory symptoms and even pulmonary edema. So, keep an eye on symptoms like development of hoarseness of voice, wheezing, stridor, breathlessness, or chest pain. If any of the symptoms occurs immediately contact a doctor.

Same symptoms don't mean you have the same problem. Consult a doctor now!

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Dr. Ritesh Kumar Singh

General Medicine

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