Burns to the airway can be caused by inhaling smoke, steam, superheated air, or toxic fumes, often in a poorly ventilated space. Airway burns can be very serious since the rapid swelling of burned tissue in the airway can quickly block the flow of air to the lungs.
Update Date 7/22/2014
Updated by: Jacob L. Heller, MD, MHA, Emergency Medicine, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.