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First Aid for Paint: What to Do After Inhaling Paint Fumes

Stay calm. Paint is not a terrible poison, but action is required.

What do you do after inhaling paint fumes?

This info on first aid for paint info comes from the Stanford Medicine clinic (website).

Here is the short version:

  • In doubt? Call 911.
  • Skin: wash it off with soap and water. Paint removers too.
  • Eyes: Rinse OPEN eyes with running water for 15 – 20 minutes. Rest with the eye closed for 15 minutes. Call Poison Control if there is any pain or trouble with vision.
  • Swallowing of paint: give a small amount of water or milk to drink. Call for help if you have stomach upset, vomiting, and diarrhea. It will come out below in a day or so and will be a color of the paint, so don’t be shocked.
  • What to do after inhaling paint fumes: get into fresh air and call Poison Control (800-222-1222) or use the webPOISONCONTROL® online.
  • For a child: call 911 and ask what to do.

Generally, liquid latex paint can be mildly irritating to the skin and mouth. If swallowed, it can cause an upset stomach or even vomiting. Swallowing a small amount of latex paint does not poison the body, though. I’ve done it…ick.

Oil-based and solvent-based paints are more serious. Definitely call poison control or 911.

How long do paint fumes stay in your system? 1-3 days in the opinion of most poison consultants that I asked. In the old days, you died. But these days, most paints are much safer. Key point: Work in a ventilated room and use a respirator if you are concerned about inhaling paint fumes. See the system I use: not expensive from 3M.

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